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How Does Miller Portray the Relationship Between John and Elizabeth Proctor in Act 2?

  • Date Submitted: 12/11/2012 12:49 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 57 
  • Words: 635
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Elizabeth is shown as a very kind-hearted, gentle woman through her treatment of her children, however when John Proctor enters the house he hears Elizabeth [singing softly to the children]. Miller shows her maternal tenderness and her gentle motherly nature and her kindness is shown when she exclaims how, 'it hurt my heart to strip her, poor rabbit'. Miller uses juxtaposition to convey her complete contrast in character upon seeing John, and how her treatment of John greatly differs to how she treats her children. Her first sentence to John is a question,'What keeps you so late? It's almost dark' and Miller uses an accusatory tine to show the separation in their relationship and the coldness between them. Her manner with John is reserved and frosty, showing the lack of warmth, we saw when she was with her children. Miller shows how badly John's infidelity has affected their relationship and he uses juxtaposition to create the sense of damage in their marriage and the barrier between them.

The speech between Elizabeth and John is very different. John uses long sentences, many of them questions and Miller shows how he is trying to open up conversation with Elizabeth, but Miller uses very short, clipped sentences in her language to convey the difference in their emotions and how they feel about each other. Miller shows John as trying to talk to Elizabeth, trying to repair his wrongs and get their relationship back to where it was, whereas Elizabeth's reluctance to accept John's apologies and efforts is shown and her need for time to heal things between them is obvious. Her lines consist of brief agreeing terms such as 'Aye' and 'I will'. The atmosphere between them, therefore, is very awkward because of their difference in opinion of the situation. Miller also makes the dialogue quite formal, an unusual speech between a married couple and not as it should be.

The relationship between the Proctors is very strained and taut. Elizabeth is cold and unfeeling...


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