The Crucible, a tale of superstition and tyrannical oppression set to
shake our complacency and make us think. Arthur Miller, the author of
this compelling play, deals with controversial issues and subjects
which could be classed as taboo such as infidelity and witchcraft. He
has a rare talent when it comes to writing and conveying human
emotions to his audience.
Act 2 opens in the ‘common room’ of Proctor’s house. John Proctor
arrives later than usual after a hard days work. Carrying his gun he
enters the “low, dark and rather long living-room”. The stage
directions not only suggest he is displeased with his food upon
tasting it - he meddles with the pot situated on the fire: “Then he
lifts out the ladle and tastes. He is not quite pleased…” - but also
suggest that the setting in which this takes place is depressing and
lifeless, symbolising the feelings that are conjured up in John when
entering his ‘home’.
The first words spoken between husband and wife are Elizabeth
questioning his whereabouts in a very accusational way ‘What keeps you
so late? It’s dark.’. There is no reaction from John just an honest
reply as if Elizabeth had no double meaning to her inquiry, no Hi or
Hello in sight.
From then onwards basic chit-chat such as the farm and the weather
‘Pray now for a fair summer’ fill their conversation. The little
conversation that they manage to force feels stunted and false as both
John and Elizabeth are being too polite - not as man and wife should
behave. John manages to eat a whole meal but they only speak six or
more times leaving much of the time to be filled by uncomfortable
Elizabeth watches the reaction of her husband when he tastes her ...
... middle of paper ...
... utter despair. The confession of John’s left her feeling
vulnerable and alone. Her suspicion of her husband is so strong
because of her low self-esteem and insecurities. Abigail threatens
What is she to do? Everyday she is faced with the reminder that she
wasn’t enough for the love of her life but she has no choice - she
cannot leave. Society had not yet accepted even the concept of
divorce, especially Practising Catholics like themselves. People
judged their neighbours and it mattered about keeping up appearances.
There would be no way Elizabeth could have confided in a ‘friend’
about her husband’s infidelity and there was absolutely no way she
could walk out on her marriage - divorce was out of the question.
Though it may be all dead and buried and laid to rest in John’s mind,
for Elizabeth the wounds are just as deep as the day they were made.
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