The tone changes
from maddened anticipation at the end of act one to somber falseness
at the beginning of act two. The author’s diction highlights the
tones of hysteria and excitement at the conclusion of act one.
“Rising to a great glee,” Abigail exclaims, “I saw Goody Sibber
with the Devil!” Accusations from Abigail and Betty are flying
everywhere. All logical thinking, reasoning and organization have
vanished from Salem. Also, Reverend Hale utters, “Let the marshal
bring the irons!” There is a definite sense of excitement around.
The witches are out, and they are going to get them. The Devil will
be driven out of Salem no matter what. In contrast, the author’s
diction heightens the tones of somberness and falseness at the
opening of act two. John Proctor states, “You ought to bring some
flowers in the house.” Unlike the chaos at the end of act one, John
and Elizabeth are totally calm and serious. Their actions coincide
with a typical Puritan domestic lifestyle. Proctor also questions, “I
think you’re sad again. Are you?” John and Elizabeth are
experiencing serious marriage problems. Elizabeth is angered by
John’s earlier sin of adultery with Abigail. They only remain
together and put on a good face because of their Puritan beliefs.
Proctor’s isolation from the rest of society can be seen through
the change of tones established by the community’s frenzied
excitement at the end of act one to John and Elizabeth’s calm
deceitfulness at the start of act two.
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