Choose a play in which the relationship between a male and female character changes significantly. Show how the relationship between the two characters change and discuss to what extent this illuminates a central idea of the play. Look at two of the following techniques : Characterisation, theme, Key scenes and Stage directions. “The Crucible” is a play based on the historical Salem witch trials. Arthur Miller recreated this event in dramatised form showing the lies and deceit which led to many unjustified deaths.
Elizabeth and John’s relationship changes throughout the play and this is illustrated through the writers use of characterisation, theme, key scenes and stage directions. John Proctor is a ‘free’ man in terms of being self-reliant and confident. He speaks his opinions without thinking about the consequences, which leads him into trouble. He is the leader of his friends as he is more outgoing than them. Elizabeth, on the other hand, is an honest woman who never – until one vital moment – lies. Throughout the play we see a growing strength from within her as she goes through the witch trials.
John and Elizabeth’s relationship is strained and they are distant from one another during the opening scene of Act II. It is Elizabeth’s findings of John’s affair with seventeen year old Abigail Williams which has broken down the trust and communication in their marriage. In the opening of this scene, we find John interfering with the food over the fire but compliments Elizabeth, so that he does not hurt her feelings. Their conversation is solely about the weather and the farm as they are cold to each other.
At this point it is evident that they are not comfortable with each other as stage directions show. “He gets up, goes to kiss her, kisses her. She receives it. With a certain disappointment, he returns to the table. ” This disappoints John as he tries hard to please Elizabeth, to make amends. When Mary Warren returns from Salem, we find out that Abigail has accused Elizabeth of witchery, in her jealousy of her relationship with proctor. Later in this act, Hale enters. Hale begins to question Proctor “as to the Christian character in his house” and asking him to recite the Ten Commandments.
Proctor recites them all easily, except one, where Elizabeth reminds him “adultery, John” which reprimands him again. This shows that Elizabeth is not ready to make amends with John just yet. Near the end of Act II a warrant for Elizabeth’s arrest is brought by Ezekiel Cheever. After finding a Poppet with a needle inside, in the Proctors home, it is kept as evidence for the witch cry on Elizabeth. Knowing that she has been set up, Elizabeth furiously shouts “The girl is murder, she must be ripped out of the world”.
This does not do Elizabeth any justice as it, also, is held against her, as it is thought to be a death threat. Showing true love for his wife, Proctor is prepared to lose his good name to save his wife and bring justice on Abigail. Act III happens in the court room, and this is the key scene where John and Elizabeth’s relationship is put to the test. Here, Mary Warren tries to convince the court and judge Danforth that Abigail and the other girls (including herself) were only pretending. Proctor cracks and calls out “How do you call Heaven! Whore! Whore!
” and blackens his name instantly. He tells Danforth “A man will not cast away his good name” which shows a little bit of selfishness he had in him before giving out this substantial evidence. He does this to get the court to believe him and show Abigails true colours on why she cried out witchcraft on Goody Proctor. This shows how desperate John is for his wife to be freed and his love for his wife. After this confession of adultery from John, he states that his wife will tell them the truth as he says “my wife cannot lie”. When brought into the court room Elizabeth is nervous.
She is asked about her reasons for dismissing Abigail Williams as her servant. When she tod Danforth that Abigail dissatisfied her : “She glances at Proctor for a cue” or hint to what he has said. It pains Elizabeth to say that John did not stray; she lied out of goodness and loyalty to her husband. It is ironic since John told the truth in order to save his wife, but it is at this crucial moment that Elizabeth lies for her husband, to save his good name. Elizabeth has no idea that John had confessed previous to her arrival in the courtroom. This condemns John even more and makes Abigails claims even more believable.
It “is a natural lie to tell” and Hale still believes John and the truth which still remains under all the lies. With this, Elizabeth and John are both sent to Jail. In act III, Elizabeth has truly forgiven John and has began to realise that not everything was his fault, but that she was partially to blame. If she showed more emotion towards her husband, then he may not have strayed from her. At this point in the play Abigail has fled from Salem, frightened that the truth will come to light. Parris, now is unsure about the whole affair, wanting Danforth to postpone executions.
Hale suggests giving Proctor a chance to talk with Elizabeth to try and get him to confess to being in contact with the devil in order to save his life. When they greet each other, they are both filled with intense emotions as they have not seen each other since the court hearing. They fight back the tears and Elizabeth tells John “It needs a cold wife to prompt lechery” and in this it brings them closer as John cannot bear to hear his wife talk down about herself but she continues “I never knew how I should say my love”. This is a much different atmosphere between them. True love was rekindled as they spoke.
They knew and respected each other more. Knowing that John has a need for his pride, Elizabeth refrains from trying to persuade Johns judgement and decisions, which I think shows great courage, strength and love on her behalf. Throughout this play, John and Elizabeth’s relationship changes dramatically. During the second act, they both found it painfully hard to be around each other and act normally, but through something as serious as being accused of witchcraft and sentenced to jail has brought them closer. This was achieved by techniques such as characteristics, theme, key scene and stage directions.