How defines Husband & Wife Relationship In “The Crucible“? As it is very aptly and rightly acknowledged that a family is a basic unit of society; it means that if the relations among the members of the family are good, peaceful and in the right order then a society works successfully and properly. Being a basic unit of society, family infrastructure is as important for society as water for breathing of creatures. Miller himself regards family as a unit of society. In other words, it can be said that a family is a fortress where people can live freely and without an interference of other people or the outer world.
A deep analysis of “The Crucible” proves it as a family play because one of the major themes of the play is apathy (cold-behaviour) and distrust between the husband and the wife. There are many certain incidents in the plot construction which lead to the strained family relations and then final mental harmony between the two.
As Miller gives very much importance to the family in the play, regards it as the main stage for the characters. There is no doubt in saying the fact that if a family leaves its proper function to serve in the society. then the result is always in disintegration.
There are some certain factors such as hidden guilts and extra marital relations which always play havoc in the family life. In the crucible, we see that a rift erupts between Elizabeth and Proctor due to Proctor’s adulterous relation with Abigail. After this breach between them, their home does not remain a paradise but it becomes hell for them. Proctor complains against Elizabeth in the following words.
“I cannot speak but I can doubt, every moment judged for lies, as though I come into a court when I come into this home.”
Proctor finds “funeral marches.” round Elizabeth’s heart. Here we see that Abigail becomes a bone of contention between the husband and the wife and Elizabeth is right in her utterance:
“I am sure she thinks to kill me, then, to take my place.”
Both of them start exchanging hot words to one another. As Proctor utters at one place:
“When will you know me, woman? Were I stone, I would have cracked for shame this seven month!”
Same like this, Elizabeth also utters her hot feelings of heart in the following words:
“Then go and tell her, she’s a whore. Whatever promise she may sense- break it, John, break it.”
In the later course of the play we see that their breach, or rift becomes more widened because Elizabeth is not ready to forget and forgive the errors of early life of Proctor at any cost. All this results in the breakage of the family fabric into pieces. –
At another occasion, Proctor utters as:
“I will plead no more!
I see now your spirit twists around the single error of my life.”
It is very worthy to note here that Miller never ever takes the family as an isolated, individual microcosm, justified by its very existence. Miller never deviates from the fundamentals of society in which family is a basic unit of society.
He always relates the family to a large group, the society. Actually family and society are interdependent on one another. So both these have deeper mutual influences. Proctor’s family is also victimized by such evil influences. When Abigail is empowered to accuse others, she charges Elizabeth with witchcraft. As a result, she is arrested and imprisoned.
Here we see that Proctor does not remain silent and dumb but shows his reaction by calling her “a whore a .. where!” This is the occasion where Proctor has a very high good and noble opinion of his wife. One thing is very worthy to note here that his reaction shows that Proctor wants to secure his family from disgrace and devilish effects.
Here, centripetal forces can be seen working here. It is Proctor working here. It is Proctor who is imprisoned on the charge of “sending his spirit to Mary” Elizabeth is released due to her pregnancy. At the ending of the play, both Elizabeth and Proctor know their true nature due to the clear vision of life.
These are the words which also come from the lips of Proctor when he utters:
“I would have, your forgivness Elizabeth”, I am not your judge, I have my sins. It needs a cold wife to prompt leachery.”
Similarly Elizabeth utters:
“For give me, forgive me, John, I never knew such a goodness in the world!”
To conclude this above mentioned discussion, it can be said in the concluding remarks that at the end of the drama, we see that both the husband and the wife are reconciled; there remains no rift or barrier between them. Both become purified entities after coming out of “The Crucible”, which is a trial. It becomes quite clear from the last words of Elizabeth that both of them have achieved their new mental union. It further reinforces the fact that at last family ‘has defeated the social pressures which is in fact a victory of conjugal love. So, we see.that a married couple is united mentally at a very high cost of: hanging of the husband. The invisible wall, erected between Proctor and Elizabeth by Abigail is demolished only at the cost of destruction of a happy domestic and conjugal life of Proctor’s.