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Miller's Success In Making The Moment When Proctor Tears Up His Confession

1334 words - 5 pages

Miller's Success in Making the Moment When Proctor Tears Up His Confession

"The Crucible" by Arthur Miller shows many themes of what life could
have been like in the seventeenth century. The play is set in the town
of Salem, amongst a Puritan society. The characters in the play are
deeply religious. Anyone who was considered to be a witch was
condemned to death. Any sort of witchcraft was considered as
worshiping the devil, which is totally against their faith. The story
is based on a series of accusations which culminate in a large court

The main theme of the play examines whether or not the main character
can remain truthful to his faith even if the result is death. This
becomes apparent in the last scene of the play (Act 4) when John
Proctor, is faced with the confession. Eventually, John gets
exasperated with the court, tears up the confession, and destined to
be hung.

The irony of whether Proctor will sign the confession or tear it up is
dramatic since so much of what happened before is based on lies. He
can either sign the confession and live a lie, or die for the truth.
Proctor says on page 109, "I cannot mount the gibbet like a saint",
showing moral reasoning with cause and effect of the confession. This
makes the theme more dramatic. Proctor understands that he has done
wrong by having an affair with Abigail, and does not see why he should
be forgiven for that, "It is a fraud. I am not that man". All this
builds tension, making the audience inquisitive about what John's
decision will be - will he live a lie or die for the truth?

Near the start of the play, in Act 2, we see John and his wife,
Elizabeth at home together. It is obvious to the audience that their
relationship is plain and static. For example, John says, "It's winter
in here yet", and "You ought to bring in some flowers". These
quotations suggest that John associates his marriage with coldness and
the flowers could symbolise new life. It would give the impression
that John would like some excitement in his marriage. However, by
looking at act 4 we can see a contrast in the way they talk to each
other. For instance, Proctor says, "The child?" and Elizabeth replies,
"It grows". Here, the couple are being more open about the way they
feel. The child can be seen as the new life that was missing in their
relationship before. With the child grows the rebirth of their love.
This is dramatic because it shows that although Proctor is faced with
death, he still has time for his wife and clearly cares greatly about

Great passion is evident in the relationship between John and
Elizabeth in act 4, by the way they express their feelings. She tells
John, "I never knew how I should say my love", now explaining the
depth of her love for him. Their once cold relationship finds the fire
it was...

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