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Hale ‘They have confessed it. ‘ Proctor ‘And why not, if they must hang for denyin’ it? There are them that will swear to anything before they’ll hang;’ This is like when Abigail accuses Elizabeth Proctor of witchcraft so that She will know that there will be a clear path to John Proctor whom she had an affair and is now in love with. Act 3, scene 3 takes place in the court. The main characters from this scene are Abigail, Mary Warren, Danforth and the Proctors. Mary Warren works for the Proctors and is also an official of the court.
Proctor treats her like a child and however hard she tries she never wins any arguments, as shown many times before and during this scene. ‘I’ll not stand whipping any more! ‘ and ‘Ill not be ordered to bed no more, Mr. Proctor! I am eighteen and a woman, however single! In this act it becomes obvious soon after the trials started that many people were going to be falsely accused by their neighbours as a method of revenge, and as an outlet for their maliciousness. When Abigail uses this to attack Rebecca nurse, one of the holiest Puritans in Salem, John Proctor begins his efforts to stop the injustice.
This increases when Elizabeth proctor is tried and sentenced to death. This is now John Proctor’s struggle. He must fight to save his wife, his community and eventually himself. In addition, he also has to convince Salem that they are mistaken in believing in Abigail. Abigail, the antagonist of the play has an extremely tense relationship with John Proctor. This is because they had an affair seven months ago and Abigail still loves him ‘John-I am waitin’ for you every night. ‘ Page 17, even though it is so obvious the only feelings he has for her are hatred and disgust ‘Abby, I never give you hope to wait for me.
‘ Elizabeth and John are married they have a trusting honest relationship, so honest that he admitted to his affair ‘Like a Christian I confessed’. Since his confession Elizabeth has lost trust in him ‘John, you are not open with me’, to his annoyance. ‘Woman, I’ll not have your suspicion any more. ‘ How they talk and interact with each other is always tense, keeping the reader gripped to the scene. Elizabeth hates Abigail, ‘then go and tell her she’s a whore’. because of her and John’s affair. When the two are on stage their interactions with each other are full of dramatic tension. Abigail envies Elizabeth, as she is married to John.
Mary Warren seems to be quite a weak character, displaying signs of fear towards a lot of people. She is terrified of Abigail, ‘She’ll kill me for saying’ that! ‘ P. 65 and, ‘I cannot, they’ll turn on me. ‘ P. 65. She wants to please everyone but she can’t, her actions make things very tense, angering one person but pleasing another one. Proctor made Mary go forward in court and testify against Abigail. ‘You’re coming to court with me, Mary. You will tell it in court. ‘ He believes no one is actually guilty of witchcraft and everyone in Salem is merely out for revenge, ‘Oh, it is a black mischief.
‘ Page 44. He tells Mary she must go to court, where she is one of the officials, and tell them that Abigail, and the other girls and herself were lying in court. Proctor wants to free Elizabeth as Abigail accused her. Danfoth questions Mary, he is unsure of whether to believe her. Should he accept what she is saying now, or what she previously claimed in court? ‘I will tell you this- you are either lying now, or you were lying in the court, and in either case you have committed perjury and you will go to jail for it. You cannot lightly say you lied, Mary’ Page 82.
Miller effectively shows dramatic tension with Mary’s character at this point. She experiences tension within herself as she struggles with her conscience, trying to decide whether she should save herself from Abigail or, save society and all those people who have been falsely accused. Danforth’s questioning continues, repeating the same question over and over, which adds to the tension: Danforth ‘Has Mr. proctor threatened you for this deposition? ‘ Mary ‘No, sir’ Danforth ‘has he ever threatened you? ‘ Mary (weaker): ‘No sir’
Danforth (sensing a weakening): ‘Has he ever threatened you? ‘ Mary ‘No, sir’ The effect of this method of questioning is that Mary realises she is not being believed, she weakens to his questions and it becomes apparent that her confession will need serious evidence to back it up. Proctor cannot stand lies, and when Mary claims he made her compact with the devil he can’t believe it. He admits to his affair with Abigail, he believes that by making such a drastic stand he can prove Abigail’s true intentions. ‘A man will not cast away his good name. Surely you know that.
‘ Miller effectively increases the tension by making John confess the audience or reader becomes gripped to the plot. After he confesses to adultery Elizabeth is brought in to support his confession and Proctor reassures Danforth, ‘that woman will never lie, Mr. Danforth. ‘ This statement is to have terrible consequences. As it is common knowledge to John, Hale and the audience that Elizabeth is one of the saintliest of people it comes as a great shock when she denies the charge of lechery between her husband and Abigail so as to save her husband’s reputation.
Danforth ‘Answer my question! Is your husband a lecher? ‘ Elizabeth ‘No, sir. ‘ And then Proctor (crying out): Elizabeth, I have confessed it! ‘ Elizabeth ‘Oh, God! ‘ Proctor ‘She only thought to save my name! ‘ This would have left the audience feeling disappointment and pity for John Proctor. The audience feels that this would have finally destroyed Abigail’s credibility, but Elizabeth’s misplaced loyalty destroys his case. The immediate events will consequently lead to John Proctor’s death where Mary accuses him of witchcraft.
Abigail screams and claims that there is a bird on the beam and that it is attempting to attack her, and that it is Mary making the bird do so by witchcraft. Mary tries to stop her; Abigail repeats Mary’s words and is soon joined by the other girls in copying Mary. This dramatic acting by the girls would have also been visually exciting to watch although quite unbelievable that they are doing this. Abigail ‘The wings! Her wings are spreading! Mary, please, don’t, don’t-! ‘ Hale ‘I see nothing, your honour! ‘ Danfoth ‘Do you confess this power! (He is an inch from her face) speak! ‘ Abigail ‘She’s going to come down! She walking the beam! ‘