Miller’s Character Development

Lets start by reviewing plot.

Miller’s characters are obviously based upon the historical figures of the Salem witch trials. Miller develops a variety of conflicts through his characters.

In later editions of the play, Miller included clear historical details, inserted into the text. Look at these details and consider how these characters add to the conflict/tension developed in the play.

You can find Miller’s descriptions of the characters on this document. It is important to not that Miller obviously wanted readers to be aware of these histories. Why do you think this was necessary?


  • Person vs. Person pits two individuals against each other
  • Person vs. nature involves a struggle for survival against a natural force such as a flood, blizzard or “the wild”
  • Person vs. society makes one person confront the group, perhaps in an effort to cause a social change.
  • Person vs. self is an internal struggle, often involving maturation or decision-making.


  1. Create a mind-map of the different conflicts evident in the play based upon our discussion last lesson.
  2. You might like to use an online mind-mapper like


Mary Warren becomes increasing important during Act 2/3. Consider some of the many perspectives here:

Act 1

  • Author Direct Characterisation
  • Advice To Abigail
  • Mercy Lewis’s Suspicions
  • Response to John Proctor

Act 2

  • Initial Responses to the Proctors
  • Comments about Her Role n Court
  • Comments about Sarah Good
  • Response to the Order to Go to Bed
  • Comments to Hale about the Poppet
  • Responses to Proctor at the End

Post your responses to this document

Further Issues to Contemplate

Re-read the dialogue between Proctor and Abigail immediately after his entrance.

  • Define Abigail’s relationship with Proctor now and in the past. How does Abby feel about Elizabeth? How does Proctor feel about the affair.

Re-read the opening of of Act 2.

  • Describe the relationship between Proctor and Elizabeth. Use evidence.

Image: ‘See what crept in Last Night?

Elizabeth’s disastrous lie

Review the scene:

What does Elizabeth know and not know as she enters the stage?

Why does Danforth insist that she look only at him?

Reading between the lines

Describe the conflict at this moment.

Directing the scene

As the director, how would you block this scene? Build upon Miller’s stage directions.

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