Mary Warren Essay
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Arthur Miller Shows Mary Warren in different limelight’s of power. At the beginning of the play there is an aspect of her having no power but as you go through the play there seems to be shifts in her power. Miller uses Mary to demonstrate young, single women’s power and how when you have so much power it can just slip right out of your hands in one brief moment.
Miller shows that power can be taken away pretty easily and quite absentmindedly from Mary Warren’s character.
He demonstrates this by making her young and single and setting the scene to a subservient, naive girl. This makes her prepared to answer and obey others unquestioningly and serving as a means to an end. In Act 1, Mary has a conversation with Abigail about the dancing. ‘I never done any of it, Abby. I only looked. ’ This shows us that she lacks the confidence to get involved, making us see that Miller is trying to present a very timid, scared girl.
Marys fear is also shown through this dialogue. A sense of her having no power is shown through Millers use of stage direction. ‘(Enter Proctor. On seeing him Mary jumps in fright)’. Miller is trying to illustrate the lack of confidence and courage she has to stand up to him. This is also a remark of the amount of importance he has upon her. This is also shown in dialogue. ‘I forbid you to leave the house’. In these quotes Miller shows that young, single women have very little to no power and importance in Salem at this time.
By Act 2 Mary Warrens character develops, so much so that Elizabeth is starting to fear her, ‘She frightened all my strengths away. ’ This shows that Miller is making Mary stronger and more confidence that other characters have to talk about her behind her back. Even though Proctor still believes she is a ‘mouse’ and still sees her as that, Elizabeth says ‘It is a mouse no more. ’ Miller makes the other character see that there has been a spark switch on in Marys head. All this is shown through the dialogue of the other characters on the stage at this time.
Miller uses other characters to illustrate how Mary’s character has changed over a little while. At the end of act two there is an immediate power shift between Proctor and Mary. This is when Mary tells Proctor ‘I saved her life today’. ‘Her’ meaning Elizabeth, when Mary shares this with Proctor, he lowers the whip. The power shift is symbolised with this exact moment, Miller shows this moment through a stage direction. Then Marys dialogue after the power shift shows a side of Mary that we have never seen before, this is where she finally decides to stand up for herself.
Miller shows her frustration at her lack of power and her lack of freedom that she is missing out on in a stage direction and her dialogue. ‘(with a stamp of her foot): I’ll not be ordered to bed no more, Mr Proctor! I am eighteen and a woman, however single. ’ In this quote Miller presents a respectful lady, however angry, who knows her authorities around the Proctors but still thinks that she has some say in what she does in her life. Miller also shows a depth to Mary’s character through her dialogue.
In Act 3, Mary has reverted to her timid self like we saw in Act 1, this is shown through her silence and through Proctor speaking for her. In this part Miller tries to make her the weakest character in this Act through stage directions such as ‘(Mary is keeping her eyes to the ground)’ At the end of Act 3, Proctor threatens Mary in to telling the judges that Elizabeth did and is not using witchcraft and accusing Abigail of using it instead. This is effective because Proctor use his tender side for most of this Act ‘(He lifts Mary’s chin. ) You cannot weep, Mary.
Remember the angel, what he says to the boy. But at the last minute Proctor turns on his threatening side and turns on Mary to help him. This is just like at the end of Act 2 when he decides to turn on Mary, there is a strong correlation between Mary’s power and her importance. Abigail also starts to threaten Mary in to accusing Proctor of using witchcraft and not to listen to Proctor no more by pretending that Mary is using witchcraft. ‘(backing further, eyes still fixed above): Mary, please don’t hurt me! ’ Miller tries to show in this part that Mary is powerless by using Abigail’s dialogue to portray this.