In the opening scene of "The Crucible", the playwright reveals insight into John and ElizabethÃÂs troubled marriage through ElizabethÃÂs subtle passive-aggressive gestures, JohnÃÂs incoherent ramblings, and his emotional explosion at the end showing his frustration.
Tension between the two immediately increases when John Proctor comes home late. Apparently, Elizabeth knows about JohnÃÂs extramarital affair with Abigail. ElizabethÃÂs annoyance is seen when Proctor states, ÃÂOh, is it [a rabbit]! In JonathanÃÂs trap?ÃÂ Elizabeth replies sarcastically, ÃÂNo, she walked into the house this afternoon; I found her sittinÃÂ in the corner like she come to visit.ÃÂWhen John gets up and kisses Elizabeth, she rejects him further by sampling receiving his gesture. Disappointed and somewhat aware of his wifeÃÂs unspoken displeasure, he sits down. The mood has become awkward. John makes small talk, stating, ÃÂItÃÂs winter in here yet. On Sunday let you come with me, and weÃÂll walk the farm together; I never see such a load of flowers on the earth.
Lilacs have a purple smell. Lilac is the smell of nightfall, I think. Massachusetts is a beauty in the spring!ÃÂ The winter remark refers to the cold atmosphere of the two spouses; they are talking together but are not communicating anything worthwhile. His unfocused rambling does not successfully establish common ground between the two.
ÃÂHe turns to her and watches her. A sense of their separation rises,ÃÂ states the stage directions. Proctor asks, ÃÂI think youÃÂre sad again. Are you?ÃÂ Elizabeth, reluctant to cause an argument, replies, ÃÂYou come so late I thought youÃÂd gone to Salem this afternoon.ÃÂ However, her attempts are futile because Proctor is set off by ElizabethÃÂs blunt remark, ÃÂMary WarrenÃÂs there [at Salem] today.ÃÂ He screams, ÃÂWhyÃÂd you let her? Your heard me forbid her to go to Salem any more!ÃÂInsight into their troubled marriage continues when Elizabeth loses all faith in him when Proctor replies ÃÂFor a moment alone [I was alone with her], ayeÃÂ and Elizabeth replies, ÃÂWhy, then, it is not as you told me.ÃÂ Proctor becomes violent again, warning Elizabeth not to judge him anymore.
Work CitedMiller, Arthur. The Crucible. New York: Penguin, 1952.