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Miller's Play

Danforth in his rage again turns his attention to Mary Warren and again Proctor is Mary’s spokesman and Hale sticks up for the innocent and tells Danforth to stop the hearing and let John come back with a lawyer. Danforth then goes into a long speech to try and justify what he is doing and to prove it is all in the name of God. Danforth reads Mary Warrens deposition and orders Cheever to bring the other girls to the court.

Danforth is now considering that this claim may be true and questions Mary again but less ruthlessly than before, gradually Mary builds up her confidence and tells the whole truth to Danforth but then some of the girls, the others weren’t in court, arrived and Mary falls back into short answers in fear. Abigail had a hold over the girls and lied to Danforth saying that Elizabeth had always kept poppets to which John declared was untrue sot hen Proctor and Danforth have another long convosation about Mary and the other girls doings.

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Danforth then tells Mary that if she really was faking it then to fake it for him right there, she could not and as a result the tension builds because the audience and Proctor all wondering what will happen now. Abby breaks it up and starts to fake being witched by Mary, the other girls follow, Mary gets scared and tries to run out the court to which John gets extremely angry and grabs Abby and calls her a whore many times.

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Danforth asks him to explain his reasons for calling her this to which he replies, “I have known her”.

The tension is released and this is the point where John shows he is willing to blacken his name and destroy his reputation to prove that Abigail and the girls were all lying. John is clearly broken by his words and realises fully the extent of what he has done and how damaging they are. John explains his and Abby’s affair to Danforth, Danforth receives the story in horror, as he cannot take in all the new issues and starts to believe that the girls were all lying.

Abigail can’t believe that she is so close to being found out so angrily lashes out at Danforth who then decides to bring Elizabeth into the court to back up what John had said, she is an honest woman so why would she lie-this would prove if the girls were lying or not. The tension mounts highly as the court proceeds and Elizabeth enters. Danforth gives Elizabeth orders not to look at Abigail or Proctor just him and questions her about Abigail, the suspense is unbearable by the time Elizabeth I asked the question, “Is your husband a lecher?

” a brief silence is held and then she answers, “No sir”. Danforth then tells Elizabeth to be taken away again and John calls out to her to tell her that he had already admitted to it. Hale tries desperately to explain why Elizabeth said that her husband didn’t commit adultery but it does no good and before he can finish justifying Elizabeth’s actions Abigail falls again into a little scene where Mary’s spirit is attacking her and the girls.

Abby screams at Abby to stop but it does not work, Danforth asks why the girls are repeating everything she says but Mary is so overwhelmed by it all that she feels powerless against them. In the screenplay Mary runs away to the sea, which is symbolic of washing away your sins, John calls out to her today to say that god damns all liars but in the play they all stay in the courtroom. John reaches out to Mary and she backs away from him and screams, “Don’t touch me-don’t touch me! ” like he is the devil or evil. This takes Proctor by surprise as Mary carries on, “you’re the devils man!

” Parris and the girls start screaming, “Praise God! ” over and over again and mass hysteria takes over them. Mary tells them all of how John made her write in the devils book and that she must help him overthrow the court. She looks at John with disgust and declares her love of God. John then stands in the middle of the courtroom or sea in front of everyone and screams, “God is dead! ” This silences everyone for a moment including the audience as the tension that has mounted throughout the whole scene has been added to until breaking point.

The silence is kept until Parris screams, “hear it, hear it! ” Proctor insanely laughs at the comment and declares all his feelings about the whole trials. He has no respect anymore for the church and trials and shows it when he screams, “You are pulling down Heaven and raising up a whore! ” This more or less ends the scene, bringing into the next scene tension and suspense and worries in the audiences mind about Johns mind. At the end Hale quits the court as he has lost all faith in it.

Miller wrote this play for two main reasons; one was to show how hysteria takes over people and how different people react to situations posed to them, Scene 3 is the scene where all the hysteria takes place, it bears a lot of resemblance to events of today and throughout the past 100 years. The first main events are the world wars where a hysteria swept though young men and women to sign up for the services or to help out with the war effort; that was hysteria that was used for good but there have been incidents especially in the 1980’s with the football riots where hysteria did a lot of damage and cost peoples lives.

The play would bear quite a lot of relevance to today’s audience especially now as war is pending and people will be feeling a certain hysteria. At the anti-war protests hysteria will have been felt amongst the people building them up to a state of dislike for the politicians involved and the people for war. Hysteria also brings people to form small minded, bigoted opinions of the things they are against like in the cases of Danforth, Parris and Putnam. The second reason why Miller wrote this play was because of the McCarthy trials were taking place at the time.

These were trials that took place in the early 1950’s after World War 2 and anyone with leftwing sympathies should be investigated and make themselves known at persecuting public hearings. People were encouraged to inform on those they suspected which may be where Miller got the idea of Abigail from as he had seen what rumours and gossip could do as he was one of the accused in the McCarthy trials. Miller chose the Salem Witch trials to put his play into the context of because like the McCarthy it was a true event that happened in American history.

In Salem, Massachusetts in the 17th century the in habitants very much believed in the devil and knew of his powers so thought that all witchcraft should be hunted out. They were puritans, which meant that none of their habits and activities were very strict and no entertainment was permitted. Miller did a lot of research into the inhabitants of Salem then so many of the characters are based on real people their actions however and words were not spoken as Miller made the people his own in the play.

Miller writes Act 3 very cleverly so that the audience know information that the judges do not, this is a way of making the tension and intrigue in the crowd rise. This form of audience participation is used often by great play writers such as Shakespeare even though their styles are completely different it still has the same effect and makes their plays interesting and exciting for all the members of the audience.

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Miller's Play. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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