Discuss the importance of the character of Elizabeth and consider how Miller makes us respond to her throughout the play (30 marks)
Throughout the Crucible Miller uses Elizabeth, who is a pious character, as a judge of character. Through her eyes we learn who is innately good such as Rebecca Nurse, we learn that John Proctor is a tragic hero whose fatal flaw is that he is “somewhat bewildered” and that Abigail truly is “a whore” with an “endless capacity for dissembling”. The audience trusts her because when Hale asks her if she knows her commandments she says, “I surely do, there be no mark of blame upon my life Mr Hale.” She has been unfairly wronged by her husband and as a result counts herself “so plain, so poorly made” which prompts the audience to feel sorry for her and consequently trust her judgement.
Elizabeth educates the other characters. In Act Two she explains to her husband that “there is a promise made in any bed” and although Proctor blushes with embarrassment in Church, Abigail “sees another meaning in that blush” which is why the accusation is made against Elizabeth of witchcraft. She knows that “she thinks to dance with you on my grave” which is why she is desperate for her husband to no longer “keep that from the court”. She makes a mockery of the witch hunt as when Goody Good is accused she reasons “mumbled! She may mumble if she’s hungry!”, informing Mary Warren that what the girls are doing is preposterous – a fact which the audience agrees with as more and more people are called in for questioning as a result of the mass hysteria.
Miller uses Elizabeth in order to convey to the audience the importance of honesty. She is a woman with good morals as she is “a covenanted Christian woman”. The accusations are an accumulation of lies and the airing of petty grievances; so when Proctor explains “in all her life, sir, she have never lie” Elizabeth stands out as an honest character – one who’s word is final. Proctor’s faith, and in turn...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document