Essay, Pages 3 (643 words)
One thing about the language is that it is easy to understand. Miller made it for the audience of today and guessed that if he put most of the play into understandable terms then people will watch it. He made up a dialect that did not belong to any one time, it is a mixture of the time period he wrote it in and the time period he set it in. As I said, it is understandable but it is not the type of language used today.
Just to point this out if you look at page fifty-three and go down eleven lines where Proctor says ‘I i??
have no knowledge in that line’, many people will understand the meaning but we wouldn’t say it like that more than likely we would say something like ‘I don’t know anything about that. The tone of the language used is not a positive one there is not ever mentioned a stage direction about someone saying something happily.
The words used are more like ‘coldly’, ‘resentfully’, ‘lost’, and so on there are not many if any happy stage directions. The language can sometimes be defensive, argumentative, or attacking. Hale is acting like a teacher that knows one of his pupils has done something wrong.
People in the audience will notice the negative atmosphere and will start to dislike Hale a little bit for his presumptuousness and his pompousness towards John. At the beginning, he rakes up all the absence the Proctor family had from the church.
He goes over the Ten Commandments, asking if John and Elizabeth knew them. When asked if he knew his commandments he answered ‘I i?? am sure I do’ his response showed that he obviously was unsure about whether he remembered it all. This would have been clear not just to Hale but also to the audience.
Miller wanted to make it obvious to the audience that John did not trust his memory in this case. Before Hale enters, there is a big build up of mood and tension between Elizabeth and John. It does not just start when they get onto the subject of John being alone with Abigail it starts as soon as the Act begins when John adds some seasoning to the food he finds in the pot and remarks it is well seasoned he is not telling her that he seasoned it to his liking. The audience will see the irony of this as he is not complimenting her he is complimenting himself but without her realisation of this fact.
They engage themselves in small talk, as they know that speaking what is on their minds will only lead to trouble. After Hale enters, they both calm down immediately to save face in front of the Reverend. Proctor is unhappy that the reverend came in to jibe at him for missing the Sunday mass and all the other important ceremonies like the christening of his son. Tension begins to mount between Proctor and Hale because of this. Suspense is built up when Hale asks Proctor to say all of the Ten Commandments. The audience are wondering whether Proctor will or will not recite all of them.
When John makes a start on his recitation, the stage directions say that he begins to sweat. No doubt, Hale would have noticed this and this may lead him to believe that John was not as strong a Christian as the other people believed him to be. When Giles Corey and Francis Nurse enter there is even more tension added to the situation as both of their wives have been taken away on suspicion of witchcraft. Proctor is deeply concerned on two levels: For the safety of Martha Corey and Rebecca Nurse; and the welfare of their husbands. Whether his own wife would be taken away like Giles’ and Francis’ wives.