Marriage through The Crucible

Topics: Salem witch trials, The Crucible, Marriage Pages: 4 (1321 words) Published: November 30, 2013
Particular Reasons for Marriage during the Seventeenth Century In the early 17th century, numerous Puritans flocked from Britain to the new developing colonies along the east coast of Northern America. Marriage and family values were the epitome of the Puritan way of life. Marriage in Puritan society was greatly influenced by the millennium which led men and women to marry for particular reasons. This can be proven throughout Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible where Puritan couples in Salem, Massachusetts such as the Proctors, Putnams, Coreys, and Nurses chose to wed because it provided specific roles for each spouse, it allowed them to fulfill their religious duty of procreation, and also because it gave more authority to women. Specifically John and Elizabeth Proctor chose to get married during this time period because marriage simulated a distinguished role of a housewife and mother for Elizabeth, and a role of sole provider for John. John Proctor maintains a job involving physical labor while she runs the household and cares for their two sons. Their specific roles within their marriage are designated to make it run properly and can be shown in the opening scene of Act II; John came home from a day of work to find Elizabeth preparing supper. He explained he was planting far out to the forest edge and that the whole farm was seeded while he eats a well-seasoned rabbit cooked by Elizabeth (Miller 160). John Proctors superior role in the marriage is demonstrated when he says to Elizabeth, “If the crop is good ill buy George Jacob’s heifer. How would that please you?” (Miller 160). Women lost all economic rights when they consent to marriage, so the husband was the only one who could buy and sell things that were considered property (“Hawes”). A Puritan wife’s other domestic responsibilities included cleaning, washing clothes, milking, spinning, gardening, and sewing (“Hawes”). Elizabeth Proctor’s domestic responsibilities can also be shown in Act II when she is...
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