GCSE English Directors Notes on Act 4 of The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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GCSE English Directors Notes on Act 4 of The Crucible by Arthur Miller

As the Director of this play, I feel it is my responsibility to offer you advice on playing the character of John Proctor. I'm sure you'll find it may help you to understand the character if you are aware of the social and historical context of the play.

The play is set in 1692 and is based upon the outbreak of accusations in Salem, Massachusetts. Arthur Miller wrote the play The Crucible, using the 17th-century case of witch trials (and fictionalising it) to comment on a 20th-century phenomenon-the hunting of communists as if they were witches. In 17th century Salem the inhabitants feared witchcraft, like America feared communism, both were exaggerated and both
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"His wrists are chained. He is another man, bearded, filthy, his eyes misty as though webs had overgrown them."

This will help emphasise the change that has overcome Proctor throughout the play. At the beginning he is one of the respected members of the community, now he has become a prisoner condemned to die like all the others accused of witchcraft. Not only that, but he no longer has his "good name" as he was forced to confess to his affair with Abigail. The fact he has his head down, will show the regret and shame that has burdened him since he admitted his affair at the trial.

After a short pause, look up at Elizabeth, hold her gaze, at first you still have that vague look as though you are beyond emotion, but gradually it is as though she has awakened something within you, you look searchingly into her eyes, as though to read each others mind.

" The emotion flowing between them prevents anyone speaking for a moment"

So many things have happened since Proctor last spoke to Elizabeth, I'd like this to be visible from the way you respond to each other in this first meeting. Their close, relationship should be apparent; I think your goal, as an actor should be to create the impression that they are speaking without words. Although Proctor has given up his reputation, one of the main themes of the play, he realises that he can still save his relationship with

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