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Arthur Miller individualises characters through their style of speech
in many ways. Abigail Williams, one of the main characters, is a very
attractive young lady, as portrayed in the text. However, her
personality is bitter spiteful and vengeful. This has been shown by
the way Miller individualises her, through her speech.
Abigail is very bossy and has a lot of authority; "Uncle, the rumour
of witchcraft is all about: I think you'd best go down and deny it
yourself. The parlour's packed with people, sir. I'll sit with her".
She seems to take control in a stressful situation, and hence controls
people through their fear: "I think you'd best go down". Miller uses
this sentence, in order to portray Abigail as a very manipulative and
some-what controlling person.
Miller also exposes the fact that Abigail is very spiteful and
demanding. This is shown when Abigail is having an argument with her
uncle, Parris. "She hates me, uncle; she must, for I would not be her
slave. It's a bitter woman, a lying, cold, snivelling woman, and I
will not work for such a woman!" This shows how Abigail puts everyone
down, and tries to make out that she is the innocent victim in all the
Another way Miller individualises Abigail, is the way she blames other
people to get her self out of trouble- "Not I, sir- Tituba and Ruth".
This shows how Miller puts across to the audience, the 'real' Abigail.
Yet again, Miller reveals Abigail as being manipulative and
controlling. "I have been hurt, Mr Danforth; I have seen my blood
runnin' out! I have been near to murder every day because I done my
duty pointing out the Devil's people- and this is my reward! To be
mistrusted, denied questioned like a-". This also shows how Abigail is
making everyone else feel sorry for her, as she has been doing the
right thing. This is effective as it again brings out the 'real'
Abigail, a cunning, sly, deceiving person.
Abigail Williams wants to protect herself, and hence confesses, as she
wants the same attention as Tituba, not to suffer, This shows her
selfishness as she doesn't want to get hung and therefore follows
Tituba's lead. "I want to open myself! I want the light of God; I want
the sweet love of Jesus!" Miller uses the word "open" to emphasise the
fact that Abigail doesn't want to just reveal herself, but "open" her.
This then shows the audience how overdramatic Miller makes Abigail.
In conclusion, I feel that Miller has effectively individualised
Abigail, as a self-centred, overdramatic, deceiving woman.
Mr Hale, another one of Miller's characters, however he is not as
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intellectual and wise man. He is a reverend, who believes that his
contact with the devil, led him to study theology. He feels that he is
allied with people who are philosophers, scientists and people of the
When Hale first appears in Salem, Miller portrays him as a very
authoritive and wise man. Hale seems to act superior. This is shown by
the way he answers back to Parris, after being questioned about his
books. "They must be, they are weighted with authority". Miller use
this sentence, as it shows how Hale thinks that he is the only one in
Salem, who can help the villagers from the hysteria of witchcraft.
Hale is a very superstitious man. Miller portrays this, as Hale always
suspects the worst- "If she is truly in the Devil's grip we may have
to rip her and tear her free". This also shows how Hale is very
determined to overcome the Devils' acts.
Yet again, Miller portrays Hale as being very wise. "What victory
would the Devil have to win a soul already bad? It is the best the
Devil wants, and who is better than the minister?" This is good, as
the audience feel they have to rely upon Hale to overcome the
witchcraft, as he is the only person, who is making sense.
Mr Hale is also some what manipulative and slightly cunning. This is
shown by his way he makes Tituba confess about the names of all the
witches, and does it by making her believe that God will help her.
"Take courage, you must give us all their names. How can you bear to
see this child suffering? Look at her, Tituba. Look at her God-given
innocence; her soul is so tender; we must protect her, Tituba; the
Devils out and preying on her like a beast upon the flesh of the pure
lamb. God will bless you for your help." Hale also persuades Tituba,
by showing and describing the suffering of the other children. This
places guilt onto Tituba, and hence Hale wins.
Hale is also portrayed as a clever man. This is because he makes John
Proctor repeat the Ten Commandments, to test whether, he believes in
God. "Let you repeat them, if you will."
Hales' attitude changes through the play. He firstly suspects
everyone, and trusts no one, until he meets Proctor and goes to the
court. Miller then makes him realise how innocent these people are,
and this is portrayed through his speech. "Excellency, he claims hard
evidence for his wife's defence. I think that in all justice you
must-". This shows how Hale is trying to persuade the judge into
letting the husband of the accused testify.
Hale also starts to feel sympathy for the accused. Miller
individualises Hale through this speech: "Excellency, it is a natural
lie to tell: I beg you, stop now before another is condemned! I may
shut my conscience to it no more- private vengeance is working through
this testimony! From the beginning this man has struck me true. By my
oath to Heaven, I believe his now and pray you call back his wife
before we-". This shows how determined Hale is to make sure that it is
a fair trial, and he expresses his own opinion, to help a friend.
In conclusion, I feel that Miller individualises Hale better than
Abigail. This is because Hales' attitude towards what is right and
wrong changes, and hence shows how Hale really does care for the
innocent, and is not just in Salem to accuse, but he is their to help.
Elizabeth Proctor (wife of John Proctor), is a very humble and caring
wife. She finds out about the affair John had with Abigail, and hence
she throws out Abigail, who was their maid. Elizabeth has a main role
during the second half of the play. Her relationship with John is,
however, very sketchy and she tries to have dinner without causing an
Elizabeth is also very wise. This is portrayed by the way Miller makes
her act as if she avoids having an argument with John. "I know it,
John". Miller uses this reply, as he wants to make out that Elizabeth
doesn't really care, and that she is only really putting on a show.
Elizabeth is also some what suspicious, of John's actions. "You did
speak of going earlier this week". She implies that John goes to Salem
to see Abigail, and hence the affair is still going on.
Elizabeth is wise in what she says. Miller uses this, to give guidance
to John Proctor, because without her knowledge, John would be angry at
everything. "I do not judge you. The magistrate sits in your heart
that judges you". This is good, as Elizabeth is calming John down, by
expressing that she forgives him, and that he should also forgive
Miller also portrays Elizabeth, as a very honest character. However,
with the love for her husband John, she cannot tell the truth no more,
and hence she falters her character. "No, sir". This shows how she
protects her husband, even though he committed the crime of lechery,
and therefore she cannot tell the truth.
Elizabeth is also a manipulative character this is shown, by the way
Miller makes her persuade John, into confessing, by saying that he
will take her sins on top of him, if he does not confess. "You take my
sins upon you, John".
In conclusion, I feel that Miller individualises Elizabeth very well.
He makes her seem very hurt, yet she doesn't express her anger, like a
normal person would. Miller also makes out that she has a big heart,
because after John commits the crime of lechery, she still loves him,
and accepts him.
Overall, I feel that Miller individualises each character through
their speech, very well. He uses slight puns, and educative knowledge,
to build up the characters in the play. He uses techniques to make
them feel real, hence creating an exciting atmosphere.