The Shift Experience By Elizabeth Proctor In The Crucible

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The Shift Experienced by Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible The Crucible, play written by Arthur Miller in 1953, tells the story of the Salem witch trials that happened in 1692. He introduces different characters that already have their own psychology when the story starts, and we witness their evolution during the happening of the play. I will study the shift experienced by Elizabeth Proctor, one of the protagonists, and its reasons. Elizabeth Proctor appears for the first time in the play at the beginning of the second act, in a discussion with John Proctor. She is mentioned in Act I by Abigail, who calls her a “lying, cold, sniveling woman” (Miller, 144). The first impression we get from Elizabeth is that she is distant from her husband, …show more content…
When she learns that she needs to go to court, she asks Mary Warren to “help Mr. Proctor as [she was] his daughter”, openly showing how much she cares about him (Miller, 177). She also tries to protect him from the justice. She draws a meliorative portrait of him to the judge, saying he “is a good and righteous man” (Miller, 194). We can also see the love she has for him when she lies to protect him, thing she never does in normal times. Indeed, she lies to Danforth, when answering “No, sir” to his question of whether or not John cheated on her (Miller, 194). All of these show that Elizabeth Proctor is getting closer to her husband, openly showing her love for him. This change in Elizabeth’s attitude is mainly motivated by the danger that she and her husband are facing. Indeed, she realizes that she loves him despite his actions, and knows that they need to be present for each other in order to protect themselves. We can see this with the “great fear” she feels and that she tries to hide in order to be brave (Miller, 177). This fear gets greater when she’s interrogated by Danforth, and she “tries to glance at Proctor”, looking for his help, and still managing to lie to protect him (Miller, …show more content…
By faking a pregnancy, she managed to avoid her hanging, but John is still condemned to death. As she visits him the day of his hanging, she is very calm, and speaks “quietly”, almost looking cold, which is a parallel with her character at the beginning of the play (Miller, 206). We can also notice a second parallel with how she was in the second act, when she qualifies him as a “good man” again (Miller, 208). As a third parallel, we have the feeling of distance represented by her use of short sentences to John’s questions, such as “it grows” (Miller, 207).When the author mentions that “she catches a weakening in herself and downs it”, we understand that her coldness is only a cover to hide her desperation (Miller, 207). During her meeting with John, she acts very “gently” to him, still trying to protect him as much as she can (Miller, 207). We also understand that she tries to stay as distant as she can because she thinks that “[she has] sins on her own”, and feels bad about it (Miller, 208). As she blames herself, and John asks her to stop, her cover breaks, and she starts “pouring out her heart”, releasing all the emotions she tried to hide from the judges and her husband (Miller, 208). When John needs to be shown the right path to take, unlike in the beginning of the play, Elizabeth doesn’t serve as his moral compass, but asks him to “do what [he] will”, estimating that “[she is] not [his]

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