The Relationship Between John Proctor and His Wife Is Not an Easy One

Topics: John Proctor, The Crucible, Mary Warren Pages: 5 (1931 words) Published: October 6, 2010
“The relationship between John proctor and his wife is not an easy one” Through close analysis of three scenes discuss Miller’s dramatic presentation of the relationship and how the audience respond to it. Draft Elizabeth and Johns relationship is certainly not an easy one. Although having been married with two children the intrusion of Abigail could not have come at a worse time. With Elizabeth ill and Abigail’s personality being such a contrast John felt it as an escape from his wife’s absence. The affair that John had with Abigail puts a strain on their relationship creating a physical and emotional divide that the audience easily pick up on. On top of the affair, living in a puritan society which can be demeaning to women makes the situation and the divide even more prominent. However the couple’s actions towards each other and Johns anger towards himself over the affair that he had shows how much they really love each other. Even without the affair, difference in character and living in a harsh puritan society is any relationship ever ‘easy’? Act2:scene1 starts in John’s house, it is late before John enters. Elizabeth is singing in another room when john arrives so John proceeds to try the stew which his wife had been preparing whilst he was out. When he tries the stew he is dissatisfied with the seasoning so adds salt finishing just as Elizabeth enters. When eating the meal John is careful to make sure that he compliments Elizabeth on the stew and the seasoning. This implies to the audience that he wants to please Elizabeth and relieve the atmosphere of any tension. This could be because he feels guilty about his affair with Abigail. But it also gives the impression to the audience that there is a lack of communication between them because, John feels he has to hide the fact that he added seasoning, just to make Elizabeth happy. The stew almost represents how the couple’s differences in character are reflected in their differences in taste. Elizabeth, like her character has her stew seasoned plainly whereas proctor prefers a bit of excitement in his life as well as some salt in his stew. The conversation at the dinner table consists of short sentences where the couple are still not quite sure what to say to each other. The audience quickly become aware of the tension between then pair. The body language between the couple also shows the audience this. For example, there is a point in this act when Elizabeth is watching John when his back is turned, this is when ‘her back is turned to him. He turns to her and watches her’ this shows to the audience that there is a lack of communication, it gives the audience the impression that they are unable to understand each other, so are therefore watching each other to try and figure each other out. John and Elizabeth’s relationship is a major contrast to Johns and Abigail’s relationship, which is shown to the audience that they are able to talk easily, for example when Abigail says to Proctor ‘I know you John, I know you.’ During John and Elizabeth’s conversations, many other small things become apparent to the audience. Such as, there is not enough seasoning, no cider at the table, and John also says the Elizabeth that she ‘ought to bring some flowers in the house’. This also shows the audience that the relationship isn’t right, as there are things missing.Throughout the play the audience recognizes that Elizabeth is a very committed Christian woman who follows the puritan values of Salem. Whereas John rebels against the society. John thinks because of Elizabeth’s puritan values, that she is going to judge him. John doesn’t want her ‘suspicion any more’ and says to Elizabeth ‘you will not judge me anymore’. But in actual fact, it is John who is judging himself because of the affair with Abigail. The difference between John and Elizabeth’s beliefs are very contrasting, and how they are two very different people, which shows the audience perhaps the two have found it so hard...
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