Just some rough notes from a pupil meeting this evening. Your essays will go much further than this skeleton.
Choose from a play a scene in which an important truth is revealed.
Briefly explain what the important truth is and assess the significance of its revelation to your understanding of theme or character.
Answers to questions on drama should address relevantly the central concern(s)/theme(s) of the text and be supported by reference to appropriate dramatic techniques such as: conflict, characterisation, key scene(s), dialogue, climax, exposition, dénouement, structure, plot, setting, aspects of staging (such as lighting, music, stage set, stage directions . . .), soliloquy, monologue . . .
Proctor reveals his affair with Abigail to prove she is a liar.
Build-up to the revelation = affair with Abigail, she still loves him and seeks to remove his wife. She has been fired from their house.
Exposition of character/ characterisation of Proctor = I will cut off my hand before I ever reach for you = the affair is over for him, he is willing to sacrifice everything to keep his marriage.
Exposition of character of Abigail = You love me, John Proctor… = she is unwilling to accept the end of the affair = “she is a cold snivelling woman and you bend to her” = hatred of Elizabeth
Shows that John is willing to sacrifice even his good name to prove Abigail is lying.
Audience is aware of Abigail’s real motives. Conflict in Court. The revelation is supposed to damn Abigail but it actually damns Proctor himself.
In court – key scene – the climax – the revelation – impact on Proctor
“I have confessed it, Elizabeth!” – Understands he has sacrificed his name for nothing as Elizabeth has tried to defend him by ruining her own name. She is seen by the court as a liar.
The name and reputation is essential in Salem because it is a small seventeenth century religious community and determines somebody’s social position. To have a damaged name in this setting is to be cast out by the town.
“Goody Proctor have always kept poppets”. Proctor is defending his wife but the court is in thrall to Abigail. His last resort is to confess their affair. “It is a whore-“
Later on in the denouement, Proctor refuses to sign his name. “You have taken my soul, leave me my name!” – extends the idea from the court scene. In trying to keep his name, and not send any more innocents to the gallows, he has sacrificed too much.
The revelation points out the extent of Abigail’s authority and Proctor’s desperation to prove the hysteria her fault. In so doing he condemns himself. Eventually he is left with only his name. “How may I live without my name?” Proctor is executed because he will not give into the hysteria Abigail has begun.