What methods does Arthur Miller use to establish the character of Proctor in Act 1 of the Crucible?
Proctor’s character is established initially through stage directions, and the initial view is not a beaming beacon of warmth as Mary Warren ‘leaps in fright’ at the mere sight of him, however we discover this is due to the fact that she is not where she should be, not because he is a man of evil actions. Then the stage direction that Miller uses merely for the actor and director to get a true sense of the character, gives us the next big clue, though this would not be read to the audience but would hopefully be made visible by the actor portraying John Proctor. However we are straight away told of his wrong doings even before this section of the play as Reverend Parris asks Abigail for the reasons as to why her career so quickly curtailed within the Proctor household showing us an initial sign that all is not well between the two characters, however this descriptive stage direction confirms the initial suspicions as it describes of how ‘he is a sinner’ and he is clearly disgusted in himself, ‘has come to regard himself as a kind of fraud’ but he is not willing to show his guilt as he is so ashamed of the hypocrisy. However, the surface emotional feelings between Abigail and Proctor are still there to be seen,(and it is no more than superficial for Proctor as we do see later in the play that he truly does love his wife and that this was only due to her dashing charm and good looks), and this is shown once again with the use of a stage direction, ‘the faintest suggestion of a knowing smile,’ and so our initial views upon Proctor are very much handed to us by the use of stage directions. Later in this same section with Abigail, we see the fiery temper that Proctor holds within as he begins to flare up at Abigail mentioning his wife in an unmannered way, and this anger is more directed at himself due to the fact that he knows his wife is not the cruel cold-hearted...
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