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The adding of seasoning to the soup at the start of the scene says a great deal. It's something that Miller adds in the stage directions and never really comes back in full force in any of the dialogue, but it is there and it never seems to leave. The fact that John has to "add" something to the "home cooking" is symbolic of how he strayed from "home cooking" in his affair with Abigail. Another technique that Miller uses is the strict dialogue between both. He constructs it as a setting where there is a cold and detached air. Discussion of weather and other elements help to punctuate an obvious tension between both characters. It is Miller's genius to be able to probe the depths of a marriage rocked by transgression. One of the most difficult elements to develop is how to authentically depict a marriage that endures challenging elements, but never fully overcomes them. The tone and the dialogue of the first scene in the Second Act helps to make this palpable to the reader and to the audience. It is in both of these elements where Miller is able to bring out a great deal about the state of the Proctors' marriage.
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