Can the Proctors' marriage be saved at the end of Act II?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that there is much in way of hope in saving the Proctors' marriage at the end of Act II.  The start of the act is a fairly tough condition.  Proctor's adding spice to the food at the start of the act is a reflection of where he is in it.  The cold and detached resentment of Elizabeth at the start of the act, as well as John continually feeling that he is on trial for his actions are a recipe for real trouble in any marriage.  When Elizabeth and John are being quizzed by Hale on the Ten Commandments, and Proctor cannot name adultery, only to be corrected by Elizabeth, the emotional atmosphere is raw and tense.  Yet, I think that there is some level of redemption that is evident as Proctor is stirred into action when he sees Elizabeth arrested and taken away in chains.  Proctor starts to move into a realm where he recognizes that his desire to remain distinct and separate from all that is happening in Salem is disappearing. He realizes that he must take action and he must stand up for his marriage and for what is right.  I think that this ending note to the act is where there is some level of hope in saving their marriage, something evident as the play develops.

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