Act 2- Proctor’s house Essay
Act 2- Proctor’s house
The crucible is set in the early 1920’s in a place called Salem in Massachusetts America. The story is based on the problem of witchcraft; to be a witch or warlock in those days was unforgivable. The people living in Salem were all strict Puritans and anything un-natural was said to be wrong. Anyone with any evidence of another being “in contact with the devil” was immediately taken to court for a case, they could be imprisoned for many years or worse killed. As you can imagine this arose a great deal of problems including people’s greed or jealousy taking over their moral beliefs. People would accuse others to get what they wanted e.g. land.
Act 2- Proctor’s house. Role of Elizabeth Elizabeth- “What keeps you so late? It’s almost dark.” At this point in the story Elizabeth still has a slightly higher status than her husband, and has done for quite a while this is because he is the one that has sinned and still needs to watch his step if he wants to keep her as his wife. As she walks in from singing to the children, she will be looking at her husband at first, then look out side swiftly when she says “It’s almost dark.”
She asks a question about his work to be polite, not necessarily interested so will be busy with something on the table, e.g. a candle stick. When she has to respond to Proctor asking if the boys are asleep she will look up from what she is doing and answer while walking quickly over to the fireplace. She answers vaguely to Proctors wishing for a “fair summer.” When Proctor asks if she “is well today” She turns around with the plate of his food and smiles kindly and responds “I am” Although not returning the question.
She then nods at the plate and tells him it is rabbit. She then pulls out a chair and sits by him watching him sit down to eat. Her eyes never leave him apart from to look at the rabbit describing how painful it was for her to “strip her.” While she watches him taste it, there is a look of slight anticipation on her face to see his respond. She is still sitting up right facing him, perfect posture. It is at this point that their statuses are equal, she wants praise from him. Which when she gets she blushes and smiles, but asks for more; so asks- “it’s tender?” Maybe leaning slightly further forward, closing the distance that is between them.
After proctor tells her that he means to please her, the eye contact becomes more intense for a split second but soon disappears. Her facial expression is of fake happiness maybe even slight sadness. As she replies she looks at Proctor for the beginning of the line “I know it…” but then looks down when she says “John.” Indicating it is very hard for her to say. When Proctor tries to kiss her she does not lean in towards it but sits very still and up right in her chair, looking away. She receives it but does not return it. After he has sat down she continues to look at him, which is when he sullenly says “Cider.”
In a thanking sort of way, for changing the subject she quickly stands replying “Aye!” The subject back onto the farm, Elizabeth still shows that there is something still annoying her. She walks quickly back with the cider and places it by him, and sits back down. Proctor then introduces the idea of flowers in the house, she answers quickly, and looking around, hands on the table and feet perfectly together on the floor.
She says that she has forgotten, but this is not top on her list, so says it rather quickly, with the air of not really caring about it. Proctor then suggests that they go on a walk together one day to look at the flowers; he finishes the sentence with saying how beautiful Massachusetts is in the spring. Elizabeth only responds to this, not the walk through the wood together. Her answer is short and quick, and as she says it has a knowing look upon her face and nods slightly but it is obvious that she doesn’t care and this is not what she is thinking about at the moment.
There is a pause and she continues to watch him for a short while, with a look of enquiry and un-knowing on her face. When he does not say anything she gets up and picks up his plate and cutlery. She does this briskly not saying a word. She stands by the basin, after placing the plate and cutlery in it. She has her back to him and does not move, but waits. Proctor then says “I think you’re sad again, are you?” She doesn’t reply immediately and still doesn’t turn round, as if holding back words. She soon does however and when she speaks it is slowly, this is because she does not want an argument so she makes it look as if she is the one in the wrong asking herself a stupid question in her mind. This immediately lowers her status ever so slightly.
His reply is harsh and sudden, which doesn’t strike her, if anything makes her slightly more frightened, she rubs her hands around each other nervously but subtly, yet still stands tall. “You did speak of going, earlier this week.” As if reminding him, that she had good reason to think that he might have gone Salem that day. When she tells him that Mary Warren had gone that day, she looks at him directly; she still does not move her body though, she announces it very clearly.
After his reply she has weakened a little, she knew that by telling him this it would get to him, now she can see that he is holding back from shouting. This still gives her the upper status. So when she says “I couldn’t stop her.” She shakes her head slightly but still watches him. She then goes on to say how Mary Warren frightened all her strength and power away from her, at this she will step forward, it’s now that she begins to use her body to express, all the way so far her torso has stayed upright. As she steps forward she looks Proctor in the eye. And she moves her arms forward, which shows her weakness breaking through. “It is a mouse no more. I forbid her to go, and she raises up her chin like the daughter or a prince and says to me, ‘I must go to Salem, Goody Proctor, I am an official in the court!”
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