What is the emotional significance of John Proctor's "It's winter in here yet" to Elizabeth in Act 2 of The Crucible?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Proctor's statement describing the emotional climate that exists between he and his wife in Act II is a great way for Miller to explore how marriages struggle through the adversity of the heart.  Miller is able to demonstrate how marriages struggle even when the couples reconcile.  Elizabeth and John have reconciled after his infidelity, but there is tension between them.  The significance is that the moment in which John remarks about the emotional climate between the two of them is akin to winter it is a moment in which Proctor is able to display how apart he and Elizabeth are from one another.  Miller is able to construct the marriage between both as one in which they are together from a physical point of view, but there is anger and resentment between both of them.  In this, the significance of the comment is that it is a statement of how marriage can actually exist.  Two people are together in a relationship, but it is emotionally frigid, frozen in the dynamics of having to conform to a structure where there is little warmth.  There is only hurt and anger frozen under the surface.  Proctor's statement is not only a reflection of his own marriage but a reflection of how marriage can be as an institution.  It is another moment in the drama in which the lives of people in Salem have immediate connection to the modern setting.

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The Crucible

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