In "The Crucible" how does Miller make you sympathize here with these two unhappily married people?
In Act 2 from "Proctor (Wide-eyed):'Oh, it is a black mischief'" to "(laughing bitterly):'Oh, Elizabeth, your justice would freeze beer!’"
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One way that Miller helps us to sympathize with these two is through the simple fact that they are struggling so hard to get along, and fail so miserably. We feel really bad for them! It starts off so well--John comes in from working the fields, tries to chit-chat and compliment Elizabeth, and she tries to be polite and attentive by serving him and doing things that will please him. However, as soon as the subject of Abigail is brought up, the tensions increase.
We sympathize with John because he is obviously trying to be very careful with Elizabeth, and sensitive to her feelings, at least at the start. 5 times, in response to her prompting to go to Salem, he carefully tells her that he will think about it. However, she keeps at him, and he gets angry. How can we blame him for this? He tried. Then, we sympathize with the fact that he confessed his adultery, and ever since then, has been trying to make it up to Elizabeth. He states,
"I have gone tiptoe in this house all seven month since she is gone. I have not moved from there to there without I think to please you."
He goes on to implore here, "Let you look sometimes for the goodness in me." This plea strikes right at the heart. He's begging her, please, take what I have given, I've tried so hard.
On Elizabeth's end, who can blame her for being suspicious in regards to anything that Abigail is involved with? She catches him in a white lie involving Abby, and is hurt. Her husband already cheated on her, and now he is lying about teh other woman again? It's got to hurt. She is feeling insecure and defensive, and merely trying to find out why.
Miller uses the very real human traits of vulnerability, hurt, insecurity, sincerity, and a true glimpse at a couple that, in their conflict, all of us can relate to on one level or another. I hope that these thoughts help a bit; good luck!
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