In the play, “The Crucible”, Act II scene I uses stage directions to show characters’ personalities and establish an atmosphere. The three characters involved in this scene are Elizabeth Proctor, John Proctor, and Mary Warren. The stage directions used most distinctly show Elizabeth and Mary’s fear of John Proctor, and releasing his rage upon themselves.
As Act II scene I begins, the reader finds Elizabeth and John Proctor having a tense conversation in their home. Elizabeth cooked a nice dinner for her husband “and watches him taste it” (p. 1267). She seems to be watching him eat until she receives his approval for the meal she made. Elizabeth’s personality is portrayed this way several times ...view middle of the document...
He turns to her and watches her” (p. 1268). Elizabeth tries not to let John see that she doubts him, but she is extremely suspicious of his relationship with Abigail. Elizabeth fears her own husband’s wrath, partly because in old times men had all power in relationships and society. Elizabeth knows there will be an argument if she doesn’t approach the subject cautiously and “She doesn’t want friction, and yet she must” (p. 1268). As the scene goes on, Elizabeth catches John in a lie, and she loses all faith in him as “A sense of their separation rises” (p. 1268).
Elizabeth Proctor isn’t the only character in this scene that seems to fear making John Proctor angry. Mary Warren comes home in the middle of John and Elizabeth’s argument. As soon as she walks in, John Proctor places his wrath on her as well. He asks for an explanation, and “Mary Warren, now a little strained, [sees] his stubborn doubt” (p. 1272). After being threatened with a whipping for a comment John didn’t like, Mary is “terrified but coming erect, striving for her authority” (p. 1273). Mary doesn’t want to bow down to him, and she shows her indignant nature, as well as her youth. However, she can’t hide the fact that making John angry frightens her when “She has been edging toward offstage” (p. 1273). Mary doesn’t want to be in the same room when John Proctor explodes, and so she tries escaping.
The stage directions in Act II scene I of “The Crucible” can be used to understand the atmosphere and characters of the scene. This is especially true for Mary Warren and Elizabeth Proctor. The stage directions show how fearfully they speak their lines, and the fear is because of John Proctor’s anger.