Examine Miller's presentation of Proctor's emotions in his first interactions with Elizabeth and Abigail.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The interesting element about Miller's depiction of Proctor with both women is that he shows him to be emotionally uncomfortable.  While the reasons for Proctor's discomfort are different, the key ingredient in both depictions is his challenge with the past and how this impacts the way he emotionally interacts with both women.  In his interaction with Abigail, Proctor is emotionally evasive, uncomfortable with how Abigail is throwing herself at him.  Proctor is looking to extricate himself from an emotionally challenging situation.  This presentation of emotional discomfort is mirrored at the start of Act II.  From the adding of spice to the broth to the stilted dinner conversation, Proctor is emotionally uncomfortable with Elizabeth.  Both of them know something is there, and yet neither are able to bring themselves to talk about it.  The presentation of Proctor's emotional condition in this moment is underscore by Proctor seeking to extricate himself from this moment.  In his initial interactions with both women, Miller shows Proctor to be emotionally uncomfortable with what is present.  He seeks to evade and remove himself from this, a disengagement that will be in stark contrast to how he is shown at the end of the drama.

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The Crucible

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