Arthur Miller's The Crucible
The Crucible is based on the 'Salem Witch Trials' in 1692. In act 1
the audience find out that John Procter had an affair with Abigail
Williams, who was dancing in the woods, and that she still has
feelings for him. When John denies their love Abigail starts accusing
people of witchcraft. Act 2 is when we meet Elizabeth Procter who gets
arrested on suspicion of witchcraft. In act 3 John goes to court
trying to free his wife and the others but without much luck as he
gets accused of mixing with the devil. He is then arrested. In act 4
John is willing to take the blame so that he and the others will stay
alive. In the end John, Rebecca Nurse and Martha Corey all hang
because John thought it was the right thing to do as other people, who
were also innocent, had hung before them.
Arthur Miller found that what happened in Salem in 1692 was repeated
in McCarthyism in 1956. The signing of names away and the petitions
was very much alike in both situations.
John Procter was a farmer in his middle thirties. He was married to
Elizabeth Procter and they had two sons. John had had an affair with
Abigail Williams and even though he denies their love he still has
feelings for her. When Abigail goes to kiss John in the film, John
does not pull away straight away; he kisses her then pulls away.
Elizabeth hates Abigail and even refuses to go to church because she
will be there. Elizabeth tries hard to forgive John for his sin but
she cannot do it.
When we first meet Elizabeth, she and John are eating. There is a lot
of tension in the room. The actors speak short sentences, which are
about nothing in particular. It seams that they are talking because
they have to not because they want to. Further to this, when John
entered the house, he tasted the soup and looked displeased so added
some salt. The audience knew this but Elizabeth did not which shows
the distant relationship. He does try to please Elizabeth, "If the
crop is good I'll buy you George Jacob's heifer. How would that please
you?" He asks first to see if he would be doing the right thing. After
he says this he gets up and kisses Elizabeth but she would probably
show no real reaction so he sits back down disappointed. Elizabeth
then starts to tell John to go to Salem but Arthur Miller suggests she
is scared about angering John.
After this happens Marry Warren, John and Elizabeth's maid, comes back
from Salem after being forbidden to go there. John is very angry at
this point and although no violence had taken place he is very close
to going over the edge. An actor would show this by shouting and lots
of quick elaborate movements. Also he grabs Mary. Mary then hands
Elizabeth a rag doll as if to apologise for doing wrong.
Mary then tells John and Elizabeth that Abigail has been accusing
people of witchcraft and what was 14 is now 39 people arrested. She
then goes to say how Elizabeth had been accused but she had been