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Before anyone says anything, drama is presented to the reader in a
visual way. We see the first trial being held in non-other that the
village Church; A place of holy gathering for the whole village. The
Church being used, as a courtroom would usually seem absurd, this
shows the audience that this is no ordinary trial, and what is going
to happen is very important.
Martha Corey is being accused of witchcraft. The mere fact that she is
being accused of such a crime is dramatic, but then her husband Giles
Corey bursts in interrupting telling of the accusations being false
and accumulating of greed and jealousy. The audience is shocked by
this and wander how the judge will react to such an outrage.
The audience now realises that the people conducting the witch-hunt
are out of control, and the village is turning into a rotten society.
The trial is built on society rules and not on fair justice. They
should be able to trust the courts decisions, but as of now it looks
like they cannot.
The reader is shocked when they hear the amount that judge Danforth
has condemned. It puts him in the line of power in their eyes, and the
village's. Giles and Danforth are constantly interrupting one another,
Danforth has a strong ego, but Giles has a strong will to present his
case and make it heard to the judge. Although Giles is desperate to
argue his case, he shows his inadequacies to the reader. His
desperation to argue his case comes to an end when Danforth has him
removed from the court. Danforth's power becomes visually more
evident, and it seems nothing can surpass him. This makes the reader's
thoughts trail onto wandering if he will listen to anyone at all, and
also if there is anyone that can indeed order him around.
After the drama the reader knows that this should alter the courts
view on the matter, but they expect it wont because of Danforth's
arrogance to listen to anyone but himself. This adds even more to the
powerful person that is Danforth, he is becoming ever more higher in
power as we progress through the trial.
Proctor accuses the girls of pretending, this creates drama for the
reader as we see a morally powerful figure like proctor standing up
for what he sees is right. It makes the reader more confident about
the truth being unfolded. Hale is excited of Proctor's claims, and
begins to see Proctors view point and shares it also. Now Hale is
beginning to believe the girls are pretending also, the reader gets a
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minister and of a high power especially to the Christian village. The
atmosphere in the courtroom becomes quiet and tense; this makes the
reader also become tense, as they are engrossed in the drama.
Mary cries out from the bunch of girls and exclaims the truth, as the
reader we know the truth, but we also know Danforth is ignorant and
most probably will not listen or accept Mary's accusations. Danforth
also becomes quiet as he is trying to figure out in his head what is
happening and how to go about it. Proctor is asked if he goes to
Church, his faith is being tested; the reasoning why he doesn't go to
Church is because Proctor does not like Parris, the ceremony leader.
This shows the reader that Proctor has moral values, and puts them
before his faith. It makes him look a good man in the viewer's eyes,
but not in the judges. As Proctor is found out that he does not go to
church, Cheever denounces him, which adds more drama to the already
Proctor's actions are being analysed and he is condemned for not going
to Church. He says he ploughs on a Sunday, which again condemns him
further for his truthful speaking. It's in Proctor's moral values to
tell the truth, this shows the reader that Proctor will put the truth
before anything else, for better or for worse, this is shown more
dramatically near the end of the play. We here that John Proctor's
wife Elizabeth (goody) Proctor is pregnant with child. This adds
tension to the room, as the reader wanders what will happen as
Elizabeth is set to be hanged, what about the baby?
Proctor continues to fight his innocence. It has now become a battle
between moral values and the court. We as the reader know that Proctor
and his wife are infact innocent, but the tension builds up as we
become ever more aware that Danforth thinks otherwise.
The Proctor's baby is safe says Danforth, but Elizabeth's life is not,
she will be hanged when it is born. This creates drama as we see a
good thing happen, but another diminishes it. This is not enough for
Proctor; he continues to argue his accusation. Danforth sees Proctor
as a threat to the court, Parris' comment "He's come to overthrow this
court, you honour", certainly doesn't help Proctor's case. It adds
drama because there's a sense of conflict arising.
Proctor still struggles to tell the court what he believes is true, he
says he has not come to hurt the court, but to prove the girls are
Danforth believes he is doing what is right, but not this time. The
reader reacts to this as they know the truth, but cannot oppose it
onto Danforth. It's as if the reader is looking through Proctor's eyes
because they want the right outcome to the trial. Danforth says he is
neutral, but we as the reader feel he is biased, because deep down, he
does believe witches exist.
The courtroom becomes ever more tense as it's Giles' evidence, versus
Proctor's evidence. Proctor shows a testimony with 91 signatures,
which is significant evidence with the amount of people that have
signed it. Parris' nerves become obvious as he starts to sweat, the
reader feels relieved that Proctor has some good evidence, and awaits
the reaction of the court. Drama is further added by the fact that
Parris has everything to lose if Proctor's accusation is held up; to
this the reader reacts joyfully to this, as the decision would seem to
be rolling Proctor's way.
Giles is a clever man as he says it doesn't need a lawyer to state the
truth, because it wouldn't make his evidence any more true. This
creates tension as the audience see Danforth as a powerful figure,
they do not know how he will react to such a comment. Danforth seems
to be abusing his power. Giles will not give the name of the person
who heard Putnam say of his evil plans, as he knows the person shall
be hanged. The audience see that the court does not have all the
rights they once believed, and that there may be a way around this
powerful body that is the court.
Giles' blatant threat to Putnam "I'll cut your throat", creates verbal
drama, as the reader is shocked at the comment. Danforth constantly
tells of order showing that the trial is becoming ever more flimsy,
and less organised. This creates drama for the reader, as they can see
corruptness and the unwillingness to comply with rules that everyone
seems to be showing.
Danforth cannot be convinced, he is very clear about his views. He is
coming across very powerful even though he is wrong. The reader sees
this, and wanders if he will ever know the truth.
Mary's break away from the girls makes Danforth confused, he knows not
who to believe. Hale shows sympathy to Proctor, as Mary starts crying,
it creates tension as the vreader wanders if Danforth's opinion can
indeed be changed. Mary's crying shows she is extremely weaker than
Danforth, this does not fair well to her accusations. Danforth
dominates the discussion. Danforth asks questions sometimes not giving
Mary time to answer. This makes the reader dislike Danforth even more
as we see his ugly side. He continually piles the pressure onto Mary,
the viewer feels for Mary and thinks she may eventually crack.
Suddenly, in a change around we see Danforth now accusing the girls of
pretending and pretence. The reader reacts to this in such a way that
they may think he has indeed changed his viewpoint. The drama for the
reader is that from what we have seen of Danforth so far, it seems he
cannot be deterred from what he believes is right. What has made him
change his mind so quickly? A needle is found in the doll that Mary
made, would this explain Abigail's wounds? Abigail is accused of a
set-up; Abigail uses her strength in acting to over throw the
accusation. It adds tension to the courtroom as its one accusation
against the other; the reader is caught up in this battle, and wanders
what the outcome will be. Proctor at this point seems to be taking
over the courtroom, he is throwing accusations at Abigail of dancing
in the woods, and he says Parris discovered them himself. This adds to
the sub-story line that is going on with Parris and Proctor, it adds a
tension with Parris, as he was working so strongly with the court, now
he has been discovered for holding information from them. The reader
wanders, if the court can trust him any longer, it adds tension and
Mary is very significant to the trial, as she is giving a lot of
evidence, just as well as Parris though, but will Parris' evidence be
held up as we have found out about his unwillingness to tell all the
truth. Stage directions are used well; it adds tension to the
courtroom, as it tells how exactly the people are feeling in this
particular part. In this case examples would be Unwillingly, Very
Faintly, and with Great Worry. They are strong words and add to the
feel of tension in the court. To prove that Mary was indeed pretending
with the girls, Danforth wants proof, he wants her to pretend now. The
drama is whatever Mary does now, is a big decision maker, what happens
to the girls depends on Mary's actions in this particular part. Mary
cannot pretend, the decision seems to be going Abigail's way. The
drama is that Mary cannot pretend, as she is a lost sheep, she in one
against ten, the reader sees this and feels for Abigail, it creates
tension between the two. The mass hysteria is not present for her to
pretend, the mass hysteria made the girls actually believe what they
were saying. Mary is weak against Abigail; Abigail is a born leader,
as Mary is just a follower.
Abigail appeals to God as if she loves him, and as if she is right.
Danforth is sucked up to believing this, which adds to the present
drama. The reader knows otherwise, as they have seen what happens
outside of Danforth's eyes. This creates tension as the viewer knows
the truth, but the most powerful figure Danforth seems oblivious. A
very strong high point of tension for the reader is when Proctor calls
Abigail a whore. To Danforth Abigail loves God, and calling Abigail a
whore is not God's wish. This convinces Danforth even more of his
beliefs, and the drama for the reader is they wish Proctor wouldn't
have said that because it just diminishes Proctor's chances of
succeeding. Also Proctor calling her a whore makes the reader wander
why he called her a whore, is it significant? Then Proctor gives some
vital information, saying he had slept with her. This is speech drama
for the reader.
Proctor's language to himself is very harsh he takes full
responsibility for his actions. His wife Elizabeth is called in to ask
if the claims are true. Earlier we hear that she will never lie, this
gives the tension on whether she will lie about such a big thing as
this. Elizabeth doesn't speak fluently, she is nervous, this shows her
commitment to Proctor, and it makes the reader whether her commitment
to Proctor is more important that telling the truth. This is tension
at its highest, in the end; she puts her commitment to Proctor first.
Hale says it is a natural lie to tell, but Danforth will have none of
The pace changes significantly as Abigail pretends to see Mary's
spirit in the air, this one of the highest peaks of drama in the book,
all of the girls join in the commotion and the convinces Danforth
further. The reader feels the drama in the courtroom. Proctor says
they are pretending, but Abigail continues as if she didn't hear John.
Abigail knows that if Mary is believed, that she is going to die, so
she puts on this show to turn the courts decision around. The reader
is aware of this but Danforth is not, this creates tension. Mary gets
over powered by Abigail's strong figure, and can't seem to handle the
pressure being put on her.
The copying of Mary's words makes her even closer to cracking. The
girls copy Mary's every word; there is a mass of them, but only one of
her. The drama for the reader is that Danforth is misguided. He thinks
he is doing right, but the reader knows he is not, the reader has seen
more than Danforth has. Tension mounts as Mary is told she will be
hanged is she does not confess. The reader does not want Mary to die,
as they know she is telling the truth, the tension for the reader is,
are Mary's moral values stronger than her life? Is she like her Dad?
We find out she is not. She confesses to lies.
A big turn around occurs when Proctor is accused of witchcraft. We as
the reader know that this whole trial would never have started if
Abigail had been so selfish to try and kill Proctor's wife. But now it
has backfired on her. The irony for the viewer is that Danforth is
totally oblivious to this whole ordeal being a fraud.
Proctor denounces God at this point, as he says God is dead. This is a
highpoint of drama as the reader sees Proctor's amazing moral strength
pull through. It furthers even more when he says, "You are pulling
heaven down and raising up a whore!" The reader now knows for certain
that Proctor will most probably be hanged for saying such a
controversial thing in a holy village.
Ironically Abigail ends up getting the exact opposite of what she
hoped for. Proctor shall be hanged.