Identify an example of irony in Act II of The Crucible?

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pirateteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act II Reverend Hale pays a visit to the Proctors farm.  Since he is new in town, he has been visiting the homes of the townspeople in order to "test the Christian character of the house."  Of course the Proctor's are nervous, but they believe they are innocent and try to answer his questions.  His test is for them to recite their 10 Commandments.  When he asks John to list them, John gets stuck and finds he can only remember 9 of them.  Which one does he forget?  Elizabeth quietly reminds him, "Adultery John."

Why is this scene irony?  Remember incongruity it a scene or action.  As the audience, we know what Hale does not, that John has previously broken this commandment with Abigail- Dramatic Irony.  Elizabeth's answer is also ironic because she too knows that her husband has broken it.

rainyafternoon | Student

Well, you can say that Abigail's attempt to separate John and Elizabeth ironically brings them closer.

Abigails lashes out an accusation against Elizabeth, with the intention of brings her to court and getting rid of her - so that Abigail herself can become to Mrs Procter. But, this ironically intesifies John's resentment against Abigail and also brings John and Elizabeth closer, don't you think? John exhibits his love for Elizabeth very clearly as she is being taken away and chained, "I'll not have it!". He is resentful and angry at Abigail, "Crazy little children are jangling the keys to the kingdom!".

We see that the event has ironically brought them together instead of tearing them apart. They are separated physically, but closer emotionally. Ironically, Abigail's plan is a catalyst in mending the Elizabeht-Procter relationship.

Other than that, maybe you can talk about how Abigail, a teenaged orphan, ironically seems to have the upper hand and is now given a certain amount of reverence? "…and where [Abigail] walks the crowd will part like the sea for Israel."

Hope you find this helpful.

rubricon | Student

nspired by the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s, Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible, focuses on the inconsistencies of the Salem witch trials and the extreme behavior that can result from dark desires and hidden agendas.

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