The Crucible

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"Compare the dramatic tension created by Miller in the scenes 2 and 4 between John and Elizabeth Proctor. In what ways are these scenes important to the play as a whole?


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The relationship between John and Elizabeth is crucial to the plot as the entire novel actually revolves around it. Scene 2 is filled with betrayal and questions of whether or not these two can ever trust each other again. Proctor is an adulterer; he's proud, and even a bit judgmental. He loses that sense of pride and becomes rather morose with guilt after fessing up to what he's done with his wife.

Elizabeth on the other hand is a very cold woman. There's no affection in their marriage, and it seems utterly lacking in love. She is standoffish and doesn't welcome him as her husband anymore; thus Proctor finds the illusion of love somewhere else. Did Elizabeth drive him away? That's up to the individual reader.

Act IV finds the two rebuilding their marital bond and remembering why they got married in the first place. It's an awakening born of the trauma they're living through. The more their family is threatened by separation or death, the more they have to come together and decide what the future may hold. It's actually quite beautiful if you take the time to look at it. Most couples can't rebuild, and then again, most couple don't try. Consider the time period and the moral beliefs of this community; there's a reason they work at it. Couples don't have to today, so they don't.


The Crucible