Consider the relationship between John Proctor and Abigail Williams and how Arthur Miller presents it to an audience.

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Consider the relationship between John Proctor and Abigail Williams and how Arthur Miller presents it to an audience.

Arthur Miller wrote the play "The Crucible" in 1953. He wrote the play as a response to his own experiences in the witch-hunt, which were concerned with anti-Capitalist Pro-Communist accusations. Miller himself was accused of anti-American activities. He wrote the play set in an area of Massachusetts called Salem in 1692 where some adolescent girls were dabbling in the supernatural and the jails were eventually filled with men and women accused of witchcraft and twenty people were hanged. The inhabitants of Salem were rigid in their interpretation of the Bible, believing in witches and the Devil. They believed also that the Bible instructed them that witches must be hanged.

John Proctor is the central character in the play. He is the husband of a good Puritan woman, Elizabeth, and is the lover of a young girl in the town, Abigail. She was employed in John Proctor's household as a maid. When we first meet John Proctor, we are given a powerful description of him. He is described as a man in his mid-thirties, powerful of body and even tempered. We see John and Abigail in conversation together. John says, "What's this mischief here?" and Abigail replies, "Oh, she's gone silly somehow," talking of Mercy, another young girl of the town. Abigail tells him of some silly behaviour of some local young girls in response to his question about the townsfolk having been mumbling witchcraft. John replies, "Ah, you're wicked yet, aren't y! You'll be clapped in the stocks before you're twenty." The relationship between them is flirtatious. Abigail then asks of him, "Give me a word, John, a soft word." John replies, "No, no, Abby. That's done with."

The audience recognise that Abigail is a young girl who is flattered by the attentions of an older and more experienced man. Also, the audience recognise that John has behaved in an immoral manner, having started a sexual relationship with this young woman but recognises his mistake. He realises that he has gone against his marriage vows and has disappointed his wife, Elizabeth, and also he has gone against the moral code of the town. However, this is of less importance to him than upsetting his wife.

Prior to this meeting between Abigail and Proctor, we have seen Abigail in conversation with Betty and we learn that Abigail has had a disturbed childhood. She witnessed the murder of her parents. "I saw Indians smash my dear parents' heads on the pillow next to mine..." The audience might well think that because of this incident, she may well be disturbed and look for security with an older man.
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At the beginning of Act 2, we see John and his wife Elizabeth in conversation. Elizabeth has cooked a meal for her husband and the conversation is tense and careful. Elizabeth is careful not to displease her husband and John is careful in his manner to Elizabeth. Elizabeth is afraid of what she must discuss with her husband but it is necessary that she does. She asks John if he went to Salem today. She is referring to the court case that is now under way concerning witchcraft. "Aye, it is a proper court they have now. They've ...

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This essay demonstrates a good understanding of the play and the characters within it. There are many apt points made; however some of them need to be developed more fully to really show a full understanding of how Miller uses certain techniques for effect and to convey certain messages. 4 Stars