The Relationship Between John Proctor and Elizabeth in Arthur Miller's The Crucible
The Crucible was written by Arthur Miller in 1952. It gives an insight
into the terror of the Salem witch trials of 1692. Many innocent
people were accused of witchcraft; plotting against God, killing
people by using magic, taking over a person's mind and binding with
the Devil. These were very religious times and any little hiccup in
one's behaviour can give reason that one has been taking part in
witchcraft. For example, John Proctor occasionally ploughs his field
on a Sunday which is not strictly correct Christian behaviour and
leads the prosecutors to think that Proctor is linked with the Devil.
The Crucible is also a metaphor for McCarthyism in America in the
1950s. Many American people were questioned because they were
suspected of being an, 'Un-American', or threatening the safety of the
state. This questioning soon turned into a modern day witch-hunt. If
anyone even criticised the government they were worthy to be
questioned. In both cases the policy, 'guilty until proven innocent'
seemed to apply, completely opposite to the justice system of today.
In the beginning of Act II there is definite tension between Proctor
and Elizabeth. Elizabeth's first line when she sees Proctor is, 'What
keeps you so late? It's almost dark.' She does not greet him with
warmth and love but with a hint of suspicion aroused from Proctor's
recent affair with Abigail Williams.
As the conversation carries on Elizabeth is very controlled with what
she says. For example, Proctor says to her, 'Are you well today?' and
she replies, 'I am.' It seems quite unnatural and forced.
In the stage directions it says. 'He gets up, goes to her, kisses her.
She receives it.' To me it sounds that Elizabeth is just putting up
with Proctor showing her any physical affection. She makes no attempt
to kiss him back and she does not smile in reaction to it.
Proctor says to Elizabeth, 'You ought to bring some flowers in the
house' â€¦ 'It's winter in here yet.' This suggests that the atmosphere
is cold, but it does show that Proctor wants the house to be warmer,
symbolising the fact that he wants to mend his relationship with
The conversation becomes uneasy when Elizabeth tells Proctor that he
should tell the court that Abigail told him that the girls playing in
the woods had nothing to do with witchcraft. But Proctor reveals that
when Abigail told him this they were alone together. Elizabeth loses
all faith in him, she feels that he does not want to prove Abigail is
a fraud because of their previous relationship. Proctor is angry at
her lack of trust and this is a chance for him to really vent all his
He warns her, 'You will not judge me more, Elizabeth.' He even refers
to his house as a court...