The greatest use of irony in the play is in Act III, when Proctor has confessed his lechery, and Danforth now asks for Elizabeth to disclose this knowledge also. “That woman will never lie, Mr. Danforth. ” (page 92) “In her life, sir, she have never lied. There are them that cannot sing, and them that cannot weep – my wife cannot lie. ” (page 111) Throughout Act III, Proctor insists that his wife is incapable of lying as she is a good Christian and has had no reason to do so before.
When Danforth asks Elizabeth to acknowledge that Proctor is indeed a lecher, she answers “No, sir” (page 113). Elizabeth lies out of her love and devotion to Proctor, however, she unknowingly sends the entire town to pandemonium by doing so. As Elizabeth is taken out of the room, Proctor shouts “Elizabeth, I have confessed it! ” (page 113), in which Elizabeth responds “Oh, God! “. It is at this precise moment that Elizabeth discovers what she has done.
There is little symbolism in the play itself, however, the play as a whole can be interpreted as a representation of the obsession of denouncing communism that occurred in America in the late 1950’s. It was during this time that Arthur Miller wrote this play, in which he himself was indicted for being pro-communism. He writes of the parochial time period, where even the innocent can be rebuked. The play is also a reflection on how suspected Communists were pressured to confess their crimes and those who took part in the felony.
Miller’s main concern in this play is not whether the witches were or were not guilty although accused, but rather the disinclination for court officials and court judges to believe that they could be guiltless. Also at this time, he was married to world renowned actress, singer and model Marilyn Monroe. There is a ostensible resemblance between Marilyn Monroe and that of the antagonist, Abigail Williams. They are both ravishing, appealing young women, although it is somewhat unknown whether Monroe possessed the quality to dissemble as Abigail did, although it can certainly be assumed.
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