⌛ John Proctors Weakness In The Crucible

Saturday, December 04, 2021 12:37:36 AM

John Proctors Weakness In The Crucible



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The Crucible - John Proctor Character Breakdown (Menagerie Theater Works)

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His mother was the daughter of a physician at Sevenbergen in Holland, with whom his father contracted an acquaintance, and had correspondence with her on promise of marriage, and was actually contracted to her. His father's name was Gerard; he was the youngest of ten brothers, without one sister coming between; for which reason his parents according to the superstition of the times designed to consecrate him to the church.

His brothers liked the notion, because, as the church then governed all, they hoped, if he rose in his profession, to have a sure friend to advance their interest; but no importunities could prevail on Gerard to turn ecclesiastic Finding himself continually pressed upon so disagreeable a subject, and not able longer to bear it, he was forced to fly from his native country, leaving a letter for his friends, in which he acquainted them with the reason of his departure, and that he should never trouble them any more. Thus he left her who was to be his wife big with child, and made the best of his way to Rome. Being an admirable master of the pen, he made a very genteel livelihood by transcribing most authors of note for printing was not in use.

He for some time lived at large, but afterwards applied close to study, made great progress in the Greek and Latin languages, and in the civil law; for Rome at that time was full of learned men. When his friends knew he was at Rome, they sent him word that the young gentlewoman whom he had courted for a wife was dead; upon which, in a melancholy fit, he took orders, and turned his thoughts wholly to the study of divinity.

He returned to his own country, and found to his grief that he had been imposed upon; but it was too late to think of marriage, so he dropped all farther pretensions to his mistress; nor would she after this unlucky adventure be induced to marry. The son took the name of Gerard after his father, which in German signifies amiable , and after the fashion of the learned men of that age, who affected to give their names a Greek or Latin turn his was turned into Erasmus, which in Greek has the same signification. He was chorister of the cathedral church of Utrecht till he was nine years old; after which he was sent to Deventer to be instructed by the famous Alexander Hegius, a Westphalian. Under so able a master he proved an extraordinary proficient; and it is remarkable that he had such a strength of memory as to be able to say all Terence and Horace by heart.

He was now arrived to the thirteenth year of his age, and had been continually under the watchful eye of his mother, who died of the plague then raging at Deventer. The contagion daily increasing, and having swept away the family where he boarded, he was obliged to return home. His father Gerard was so concerned at her death that he grew melancholy, and died soon after: neither of his parents being much above forty when they died. Erasmus had three guardians assigned him, the chief of whom was Peter Winkel, schoolmaster of Goude; and the fortune left him was amply sufficient for his support, if his executors had faithfully discharged their trust Although he was fit for the university, his guardians were averse to sending him there, as they designed him for a monastic life, and therefore removed him to Bois-le-duc, where, he says, he lost near three years, living in a Franciscan convent The professor of humanity in this convent, admiring his rising genius, daily importuned him to take the habit, and be of their order.

Erasmus had no great inclination for the cloister; not that he had the least dislike to the severities of a pious life, but he could not reconcile himself to the monastic profession; he therefore urged his rawness of age, and desired farther to consider better of the matter. The plague spreading in those parts, and he having struggled a long time with a quartan ague, obliged him to return home. His guardians employed those about him to use all manner of arguments to prevail on him to enter the order of monk; sometimes threatening, and at other times making use of flattery and fair speeches. When Winkel, his guardian, found him not to be moved from his resolution, he told him that he threw up his guardianship from that moment Young Erasmus replied, that he took him at his word, since he was old enough now to look out for himself.

When Winkel found that threats did not avail, he employed his brother, who was the other guardian, to see what he could effect by fair means. Thus he was surrounded by them and their agents on all sides. By mere accident, Erasmus went to visit a religious house belonging to the same order, in Emaus or Steyn, near Goude, where he met with one Cornelius, who had been his companion at Deventer; and though he had not himself taken the habit, he was perpetually preaching up the advantages of a religious life, as the convenience of noble libraries, the helps of learned conversation, retirement from the noise and folly of the world, and the like.

Thus at last he was induced to pitch upon this convent. Upon his admission they fed him with great promises, to engage him to take the holy cloth; and though he found almost everything fall short of his expectation, yet his necessities, and the usage he was threatened with if he abandoned their order, prevailed with him, after his year of probation, to profess himself a member of their fraternity. Not long after this, he had the honour to be known to Henry a Bergis, bishop of Cambray, who having some hopes of obtaining a cardinal's hat, wanted one perfectly master of Latin to solicit this affair for him; for this purpose Erasmus was taken into the bishop's family, where he wore the habit of his order.

The bishop not succeeding in his expectation at Rome, proved fickle and wavering in his affection; therefore Erasmus prevailed with him to send him to Paris, to prosecute his studies in that famous university, with the promise of an annual allowance, which was never paid him. He was admitted into Montague College, but indisposition obliged him to return to the bishop, by whom he was honourably entertained. Finding his health restored, he made a journey to Holland, intending to settle there, but was persuaded to go a second time to Paris; where, having no patron to support him, himself says, he rather made a shift to live, than could be said to study.

He next visited England, where he was received with great respect; and as appears by several of his letters, he honoured it next to the place of his nativity. In a letter to Andrelinus, inviting him to England, he speaks highly of the beauty of the English ladies, and thus describes their innocent freedom: "When you come into a gentleman's house you are allowed the favour to salute them, and the same when you take leave.

In his way for France he had the misfortune to be stripped of everything; but he did not revenge this injury by any unjust reflection on the country. Not meeting with the preferment he expected, he made a voyage to Italy, at that time little inferior to the Augustan age for learning. He took his doctor of divinity degree in the university of Turin; stayed about a year in Bologna; afterward went to Venice, and there published his book of Adages from the press of the famous Aldus.

He removed to Padua, and last to Rome, where his fame had arrived long before him. Here he gained the friendship of all the considerable persons of the city, nor could have failed to have made his fortune, had he not been prevailed upon by the great promises of his friends in England to return thither on Henry VIIIth coming to the crown. He was taken into favour by Warham, archbishop of Canterbury, who gave him the living of Aldington, in Kent; but whether Erasmus was wanting in making his court to Wolsey, or whether the cardinal viewed him with a jealous eye, because he was a favourite of Warham, between whom and Wolsey there was perpetual clashing, we know not; however, being disappointed, Erasmus went to Flanders, and by the interest of Chancellor Sylvagius, was made counsellor to Charles of Austria, afterward Charles V.

He resided several years at Basil; but on the mass being abolished in that city by the Reformation, he retired to Friberg in Alsace, where he lived seven years. Having been for a long time afflicted with the gout, he left Friberg, and returned to Basil. Here the gout soon left him, but he was seized by a dysentery, and after labouring a whole month under that disorder, died on the 22nd of July, , in the house of Jerome Frobenius, son of John, the famous printer.

He was honourably interred, and the city of Basil still pays the highest respect to the memory of so great a man. Erasmus was the most facetious man, and the greatest critic of his age. He carried on a reformation in learning at the same time he advanced that of religion; and promoted a purity of style as well as simplicity of worship. This drew on him the hatred of the ecclesiastics, who were no less bigotted to their barbarisms in language and philosophy, than they were to their superstitious and gaudy ceremonies in religion; they murdered him in their dull treatises, libelled him in their wretched sermons, and in their last and most effectual efforts of malice, they joined some of their own execrable stuff to his compositions: of which he himself complains in a letter addressed to the divines of Louvain.

He exposed with great freedom the vices and corruptions of his own church, yet never would be persuaded to leave her communion. The papal policy would never have suffered Erasmus to have taken so unbridled a range in the reproof and censure of her extravagancies, but under such circumstances, when the public attack of Luther imposed on her a prudential necessity of not disobliging her friends, that she might with more united strength oppose the common enemy; and patiently bore what at any other time she would have resented. Perhaps no man has obliged the public with a greater number of useful volumes than our author; though several have been attributed to him which he never wrote. His book of Colloquies has passed through more editions than any of his others: Moreri tells us a bookseller in Paris sold twenty thousand at one impression.

IN my late travels from Italy into England, that I might not trifle away my time in the rehearsal of old wives' fables, I thought it more pertinent to employ my thoughts in reflecting upon some past studies, or calling to remembrance several of those highly learned, as well as smartly ingenious, friends I had here left behind, among whom you dear Sir were represented as the chief; whose memory, while absent at this distance, I respect with no less a complacency than I was wont while present to enjoy your more intimate conversation, which last afforded me the greatest satisfaction I could possibly hope for.

Having therefore resolved to be a doing, and deeming that time improper for any serious concerns, I thought good to divert myself with drawing up a panegyrick upon Folly. In the next place, I supposed that this kind of sporting wit would be by you more especially accepted of, by you, Sir, that are wont with this sort of jocose raillery such as, if I mistake not, is neither dull nor impertinent to be mightily pleased, and in your ordinary converse to approve yourself a Democritus junior: for truly, as you do from a singular vein of wit very much dissent from the common herd of mankind; so, by an incredible affability and pliableness of temper, you have the art of suiting your humour with all sorts of companies.

I hope therefore you will not only readily accept of this rude essay as a token from your friend, but take it under your more immediate protection, as being dedicated to you, and by that tide adopted for yours, rather than to be fathered as my own. And it is a chance if there be wanting some quarrelsome persons that will shew their teeth, and pretend these fooleries are either too buffoon-like for a grave divine, or too satyrical for a meek christian, and so will exclaim against me as if I were vamping up some old farce, or acted anew the Lucian again with a peevish snarling at all things.

But those who are offended at the lightness and pedantry of this subject, I would have them consider that I do not set myself for the first example of this kind, but that the same has been oft done by many considerable authors. For thus several ages since, Homer wrote of no more weighty a subject than of a war between the frogs and mice, Virgil of a gnat and a pudding-cake, and Ovid of a nut Polycrates commended the cruelty of Busiris; and Isocrates, that corrects him for this, did as much for the injustice of Glaucus.

Favorinus extolled Thersites, and wrote in praise of a quartan ague. Synesius pleaded in behalf of baldness; and Lucian defended a sipping fly. Seneca drollingly related the deifying of Claudius; Plutarch the dialogue betwixt Gryllus and Ulysses; Lucian and Apuleius the story of an ass; and somebody else records the last will of a hog, of which St. Hierom makes mention. So that if they please, let themselves think the worst of me, and fancy to themselves that I was all this while a playing at push-pin, or riding astride on a hobby-horse.

For how unjust is it, if when we allow different recreations to each particular course of life, we afford no diversion to studies; especially when trifles may be a whet to more serious thoughts, and comical matters may be so treated of, as that a reader of ordinary sense may possibly thence reap more advantage than from some more big and stately argument: as while one in a long-winded oration descants in commendation of rhetoric or philosophy, another in a fulsome harangue sets forth the praise of his nation, a third makes a zealous invitation to a holy war with the Turks, another confidently sets up for a fortune-teller, and a fifth states questions upon mere impertinences.

But as nothing is more childish than to handle a serious subject in a loose, wanton style, so is there nothing more pleasant than so to treat of trifles, as to make them seem nothing less than what their name imports. As to what relates to myself, I must be forced to submit to the judgment of others; yet, except I am too partial to be judge in my own case, I am apt to believe I have praised Folly in such a manner as not to have deserved the name of fool for my pains. To reply now to the objection of satyricalness, wits have been always allowed this privilege, that they might be smart upon any transactions of life, if so be their liberty did not extend to railing; which makes me wonder at the tender-eared humour of this age, which will admit of no address without the prefatory repetition of all formal titles; nay, you may find some so preposterously devout, that they will sooner wink at the greatest affront against our Saviour, than be content that a prince, or a pope, should be nettled with the least joke or gird, especially in what relates to their ordinary customs.

But he who so blames men's irregularities as to lash at no one particular person by name, does he I say seem to carp so properly as to teach and instruct? And if so, how am I concerned to make any farther excuse? Beside, he who in his strictures points indifferently at all, he seems not angry at one man, but at all vices. Therefore, if any singly complain they are particularly reflected upon, they do but betray their own guilt, at least their cowardice. Saint Hierom dealt in the same argument at a much freer and sharper rate; nay, and he did not sometimes refrain from naming the persons: whereas I have not only stifled the mentioning any one person, but have so tempered my style, as the ingenious reader will easily perceive I aimed at diversion rather than satire.

Neither did I so far imitate Juvenal, as to rake into the sink of vices to procure a laughter, rather than create a hearty abhorrence. If there be any one that after all remains yet unsatisfied, let him at least consider that there may be good use made of being reprehended by Folly, which since we have feigned as speaking, we must keep up that character which is suitable to the person introduced. But why do I trouble you, Sir, with this needless apology, you that are so peculiar a patron; as, though the cause itself be none of the best, you can at least give it the best protection. HOW slightly soever I am esteemed in the common vogue of the world, for I well know how disingenuously Folly is decried, even by those who are themselves the greatest fools, yet it is from my influence alone that the whole universe receives her ferment of mirth and jollity: of which this may be urged as a convincing argument, in that as soon as I appeared to speak before this numerous assembly all their countenances were gilded oyer with a lively sparkling pleasantness: you soon welcomed me with so encouraging a look, you spurred me on with so cheerful a hum, that truly in all appearance, you seem now flushed with a good dose of reviving nectar, when as just before you sate drowsy and melancholy, as if you were lately come out of some hermit's cell.

But as it is usual, that as soon as the sun peeps from her eastern bed, and draws back the curtains of the darksome night; or as when, after a hard winter, the restorative spring breathes a more enlivening air, nature forthwith changes her apparel, and all things seem to renew their age; so at the first sight of me you all unmask, and appear in more lively colours. That therefore which expert orators can scarce effect by all their little artifice of eloquence, to wit, a raising the attentions of their auditors to a composedness of thought, this a bare look from me has commanded.

The reason why I appear in this odd kind of garb, you shall soon be informed of, if for so short a while you will have but the patience to lend me an ear; yet not such a one as you are wont to hearken with to your reverend preachers, but as you listen withal to mountebanks, buffoons, and merry-andrews; in short, such as formerly were fastened to Midas, as a punishment for his affront to the god Pan. For I am now in a humour to act awhile the sophist, yet not of that sort who undertake the drudgery of tyrannizing over school boys, and teach a more than womanish knack of brawling; but in imitation of those ancient ones, who to avoid the scandalous epithet of wise, preferred this title of sophists; the task of these was to celebrate the worth of gods and heroes.

Prepare therefore to be entertained with a panegyrick, yet not upon Hercules, Solon, or any other grandee, but on myself, that is, upon Folly. And here I value not their censure that pretend it is foppish and affected for any person to praise himself: yet let it be as silly as they please, if they will but allow it needful: and indeed what is more befitting than that Folly should be the trumpet of her own praise, and dance after her own pipe?

And yet farther, I may safely urge, that all this is no more than the same with what is done by several seemingly great and wise men, who with a new-fashioned modesty employ some paltry orator or scribbling poet, whom they bribe to flatter them with some high-flown character, that shall consist of mere lies and shams; and yet the persons thus extolled shall bristle up, and, peacock-like, bespread their plumes, while the impudent parasite magnifies the poor wretch to the skies, and proposes him as a complete pattern of all virtues, from each of which he is yet as far distant as heaven itself from hell: what is all this in the mean while, but the tricking up a daw in stolen feathers; a labouring to change the black-a-moor's hue, and the drawing on a pigmy's frock over the shoulders of a giant.

Lastly, I verify the old observation, that allows him a right of praising himself, who has nobody else to do it for him: for really, I cannot but admire at that ingratitude, shall I term it, or blockishness of mankind, who when they all willingly pay to me their utmost devoir, and freely acknowledge their respective obligations; that notwithstanding this, there should have been none so grateful or complaisant as to have bestowed on me a commendatory oration, especially when there have not been wanting such as at a great expense of sweat, and loss of sleep, have in elaborate speeches, given high encomiums to tyrants, agues, flies, baldness, and such like trumperies.

I shall entertain you with a hasty and unpremeditated, but so much the more natural discourse. My venting it ex tempore , I would not have you think proceeds from any principles of vain glory by which ordinary orators square their attempts, who as it is easy to observe when they are delivered of a speech that has been thirty years a conceiving, nay, perhaps at last, none of their own, yet they will swear they wrote it in a great hurry, and upon very short warning: whereas the reason of my not being provided beforehand is only because it was always my humour constantly to speak that which lies uppermost. Next, let no one be so fond as to imagine, that I should so far stint my invention to the method of other pleaders, as first to define, and then divide my subject, i.

For it is equally hazardous to attempt the crowding her within the narrow limits of a definition, whose nature is of so diffusive an extent, or to mangle and disjoin that, to the adoration whereof all nations unitedly concur. Beside, to what purpose is it to lay down a definition for a faint resemblance, and mere shadow of me, while appearing here personally, you may view me at a more certain light? And if your eye-sight fail not, you may at first blush discern me to be her whom the Greeks term Mwpia , the Latins stultitia. But why need I have been so impertinent as to have told you this, as if my very looks did not sufficiently betray what I am; or supposing any be so credulous as to take me for some sage matron or goddess of wisdom, as if a single glance from me would not immediately correct their mistake, while my visage, the exact reflex of my soul, would supply and supersede the trouble of any other confessions: for I appear always in my natural colours, and an unartificial dress, and never let my face pretend one thing, and my heart conceal another; nay, and in all things I am so true to my principles, that I cannot be so much as counterfeited, even by those who challenge the name of wits, yet indeed are no better than jackanapes tricked up in gawdy clothes, and asses strutting in lions' skins; and how cunningly soever they carry it, their long ears appear, and betray what they are.

And so much for this; pardon the digression, now I return. Of my name I have informed you, Sirs; what additional epithet to give you I know not; except you will be content with that of most foolish; for under what more proper appellation can the goddess Folly greet her devotees? But since there are few acquainted with my family and original, I will now give you some account of my extraction:.

First then, my father was neither the chaos, nor hell, nor Saturn, nor Jupiter, nor any of those old, worn out, grandsire gods, but Plutus, the very same that, maugre Homer, Hesiod, nay, in spite of Jove himself, was the primary father born amongst these delights, I did not, like other infants, come crying into the world, but perked up, and laughed immediately in my mother's face.

And there is no reason I should envy Jove for having a she-goat to his nurse, since I was more creditably suckled by two jolly nymphs; the name of the first drunkenness, one of Bacchus's offspring, the other ignorance, the daughter of Pan; both which you may here behold among several others of my train and attendants, whose particular names, if you would fain know, I will give you in short This, who goes with a mincing gait, and holds up her head so high, is Self-Love.

She that looks so spruce, and makes such a noise and bustle, is Flattery. That other, which sits hum-drum, as if she were half asleep, is called Forgetfulness. She that leans on her elbow, and sometimes yawningly stretches out her arms, is Laziness. This, that wears a plighted garland of flowers, and smells so perfumed, is Pleasure. The other, which appears in so smooth a skin, and pampered-up flesh, is Sensuality. She that stares so wildly, and rolls about her eyes, is Madness. As to those two gods whom you see playing among the lasses the name of the one is Intemperance, the other Sound Sleep.

By the help and service of this retinue I bring all things under the verge of my power, lording it over the greatest kings and potentates. You have now heard of my descent, my education, and my attendance; that I may not be taxed as presumptuous in borrowing the title of a goddess, I come now in the next place to acquaint you what obliging favours I everywhere bestow, and how largely my jurisdiction extends: for if, as one has ingenuously noted, to be a god is no other than to be a benefactor to mankind; and if they have been thought deservedly deified who have invented the use of wine, corn, or any other convenience for the well-being of mortals, why may not I justly bear the van among the whole troop of gods, who in all, and toward all, exert an unparalleled bounty and beneficence?

For instance, in the first place, what can be more dear and precious than life itself? For it is neither the spear of throughly-begotten Pallas, nor the buckler of cloud-gathering Jove, that multiplies and propagates mankind: but my sportive and tickling recreation that proceeded the old crabbed philosophers, and those who now supply their stead, the mortified monks and friars; as also kings, priests, and popes, nay, the whole tribe of poetic gods, who are at last grown so numerous, as in the camp of heaven though ne'er so spacious , to jostle for elbow room.

But it is not sufficient to have made it appear that I am the source and original of all life, except I likewise shew that all the benefits of life are equally at my disposal. And what are such? Why, can any one be said properly to live to whom pleasure is denied? You will give me your assent; for there is none I know among you so wise shall I say, or so silly, as to be of a contrary opinion. The Stoics indeed contemn, and pretend to banish pleasure; but this is only a dissembling trick, and a putting the vulgar out of conceit with it, that they may more quietly engross it to themselves: but I dare them now to confess what one stage of life is not melancholy, dull, tiresome, tedious, and uneasy, unless we spice it with pleasure, that hautgoust of Folly.

Of the truth whereof the never enough to be commended Sophocles is sufficient authority, who gives me the highest character in that sentence of his,. Yet abating from this, let us examine the case more narrowly. Who knows not that the first scene of infancy is far the most pleasant and delightsome? What then is it in children that makes us so kiss, hug, and play with them, and that the bloodiest enemy can scarce have the heart to hurt them; but their ingredients of innocence and Folly, of which nature out of providence did purposely compound and blend their tender infancy, that by a frank return of pleasure they might make some sort of amends for their parents' trouble, and give in caution as it were for the discharge of a future education; the next advance from childhood is youth, and how favourably is this dealt with; how kind, courteous, and respectful are all to it?

And whence reaps it this happiness? Whence indeed, but from me only, by whose procurement it is furnished with little of wisdom, and so with the less of disquiet? And when once lads begin to grow up, and attempt to write man, their prettiness does then soon decay, their briskness flags, their humours stagnate, their jollity ceases, and their blood grows cold; and the farther they proceed in years, the more they grow backward in the enjoyment of themselves, till waspish old age comes on, a burden to itself as well as others, and that so heavy and oppressive, as none would bear the weight of, unless out of pity to their sufferings.

I again intervene, and lend a helping-hand, assisting them at a dead lift, in the same method the poets feign their gods to succour dying men, by transforming them into new creatures, which I do by bringing them back, after they have one foot in the grave, to their infancy again; so as there is a great deal of truth couched in that old proverb, Once an old man, and twice a child. Now if any one be curious to understand what course I take to effect this alteration, my method is this: I bring them to my well of forgetfulness, the fountain whereof is in the Fortunate Islands, and the river Lethe in hell but a small stream of it , and when they have there filled their bellies full, and washed down care, by the virtue and operation whereof they become young again.

Ay, but say you they merely dote, and play the fool: why yes, this is what I mean by growing young again: for what else is it to be a child than to be a fool and an idiot? It is the being such that makes that age so acceptable: for who does not esteem it somewhat ominous to see a boy endowed with the discretion of a man, and therefore for the curbing of too forward parts we have a disparaging proverb, Soon ripe, soon rotten? And farther, who would keep company or have any thing to do with such an old blade, as, after the wear and harrowing of so many years should yet continue of as clear a head and sound a judgment as he had at any time been in his middle-age; and therefore it is great kindness of me that old men grow fools, since it is hereby only that they are freed from such vexations as would torment them if they were more wise: they can drink briskly, bear up stoutly, and lightly pass over such infirmities, as a far stronger constitution could scarce master.

Sometime, with the old fellow in Plautus, they are brought back to their horn-book again, to learn to spell their fortune in love. Most wretched would they needs be if they had but wit enough to be sensible of their hard condition; but by my assistance, they carry off all well, and to their respective friends approve themselves good, sociable, jolly companions. Thus Homer makes aged Nestor famed for a smooth oily-tongued orator, while the delivery of Achilles was but rough, harsh, and hesitant; and the same poet elsewhere tells us of old men that sate on the walls, and spake with a great deal of flourish and elegance. And in this point indeed they surpass and outgo children, who are pretty forward in a softly, innocent prattle, but otherwise are too much tongue-tied, and want the other's most acceptable embellishment of a perpetual talkativeness.

There is also an entire supporting cast of characters who individually display neither extreme courage nor cowardice but who muddle through a terrible situation with numb apathy. There is also the opportunity to define what courage means here — after all, the decision to isolate themselves within the boundaries of Eyam took immense courage from all the villagers, who knew full well that they would inevitably be exposed to the deadly contagion. Paragraph 1: [Agree] The novel is grounded in and revolves around the initial courageous decision of the villagers of Eyam to quarantine themselves and risk their own lives to protect others from the spread of the bubonic plague.

Paragraph 2: [Agree] The individuals who displayed courage, hope and conviction in the face of acute personal adversity demonstrate the enormous power of courage to steel us through a crisis. Paragraph 3: [Partial disagree] However, Year of Wonders shows how adversity can provoke extremes of human behaviour and is thus also a story of human failings under immense pressure, with many characters motivated by cowardice and self-interested opportunism. Whilst he is indeed known for his hair-curling thrillers, Rear Window is a slightly subtler film which focuses not on a murderer at large, but rather a crippled photographer who never even leaves his apartment.

Our protagonist L. After breaking his leg after a racing accident, Jeff begins to spy on his neighbours, one of whom he suspects of having committed a murder. Despite some initial misgivings, his insurance nurse Stella Thelma Ritter and lover Lisa Grace Kelly also come to share his suspicions and participate in his spying. Their contributions ultimately allow the mystery to be solved. On the other hand, Kelly portrays a character much like herself, a refined and elegant urbanite whose lifestyle inherently clashes with that of an action photographer. Before getting into the nitty-gritty of the film, it is crucial to understand a bit about its historical context.

Released in the post-war period , the film is undoubtedly characterised by the interpersonal suspicion which defined the era. In particular, there was a real fear in America of Communist influences and Soviet espionage - so much so that a tribunal was established, supposedly to weed out Communists despite a general lack of evidence. This practice of making accusations without such evidence is now known as the McCarthyism, named after the senator behind the tribunal. During this era, people really did fear one another, since the threat of Communism felt so widespread. At the same time, the s saw a boom in photojournalism as a legitimate profession. To some extent, this was fuelled by the heyday of Life magazine an American weekly, as well-known then as Time magazine is today.

This explains the prevalence of cameras in his life, as well as his ability to emotionally distance himself from those whom he observes through the lens. Another crucial historical element is the institution of marriage , and how important it was to people during the s. It was an aspiration which everyone was expected to have, and this is reflected statistically - only 9. People also tended to marry at a younger age, generally in their early 20s. Conversely, divorce was highly frowned upon, and once you were married, you would in general remain married for the rest of your life. In particular, divorced women suffered massive financial difficulties, since men, as breadwinners, held higher-paying jobs, and women were only employed in traditionally female roles e.

Possibly the central tenet of the film is the big question of privacy. The character of Doyle says almost these exact words:. So to speak. Evidently, this is a major moral dilemma. If you suspect that someone has committed murder, does this give you the right to disregard their privacy and surveil them in this way? In some ways, the audience is also positioned to reflect on this question, and in particular, reflect on the paranoia that characterised and defined the McCarthy era.

Somewhat separate to these questions is the romance between Jeff and Lisa, since Hitchcock seems to keep the thriller storyline and the romance storyline separate for a large part of the film. Their contrasting lifestyles and world views present a major obstacle in the fulfilment of their romance, and the murder mystery both distracts and unites them. The cinematographic techniques employed in Rear Window are important ways of shaping our understanding of the film, and Hitchcock uses a wide array of visual cues to communicate certain messages. Lighting is one such cue that he uses a lot - it is said that at certain points in filming, he had used every single light owned by the studio in which this film was shot.

In this film, lighting is used to reveal things: when the lights are on in any given apartment, Jeff is able to peer inside and watch through the window almost resembling a little TV screen; Jeff is also able to channel surf through the various apartments - Hitchcock uses panning to show this. On the contrary, a lack of lighting is also used to hide things, and we see Thorwald utilise this at many stages in the film.

Jeff also takes advantage of this, as he often sits in a position where he is very close to being in the shadows himself; if he feels the need, he is able to retreat such that he is fully enshrouded. Low-key lighting in these scenes also contributes to an overall sense of drama and tension. Another handy visual cue is the cross-cut , which is an example of the Kuleshov effect. The Kuleshov effect is an editing technique whereby a sequence of two shots is used to convey information more effectively than just a single shot.

Specifically, the cross-cut shifts from a shot of a person to a second shot of something that this person is watching. That being said, one of the benefits of studying a film is that these symbols tend to be quite visual - you are able to see these recurring images and this may make them easier to spot. Because he has been rendered immobile by his leg, readers can infer from this symbol that he is also incapable of working or even leaving his apartment, let alone solving a murder mystery. The broken leg is in this sense a symbol of his powerlessness and the source of much of his discontent. Another interpretation of the broken leg however, is that it represents his impotence which on one hand is synonymous for powerlessness or helplessness, but is on the other hand an allusion to his apparent inability to feel sexual desire.

Being constantly distracted from Lisa by other goings-on in the courtyard definitely supports this theory. It is the main means through which he observes other people, and thus, it also symbolises his voyeuristic tendencies - just as his broken leg traps and inhibits him, his camera lens transports him out of his own apartment and allows him to project his own fears and insecurities into the apartments of his neighbours, watching them for entertainment, for visual pleasure. In this latter sense, the camera lens can also be understood as a phallic symbol, an erection of sorts. Her initial wardrobe represents her elegance and refinery whilst also communicating a degree of incompatibility with Jeff.

However, as she changes and compromises throughout the film, her wardrobe also becomes much more practical and much less ostentatious as the film wears on, until she is finally wearing a smart blouse, jeans and a pair of loafers. The change in her wardrobe reflects changes in her character as well. Finally, the wedding ring of Mrs Thorwald is hugely significant; wedding rings in general represent marriage and commitment, and are still very important symbols that people still wear today.

Now it's your turn to give these essay topics a go! In our ebook A Killer Text Guide: Rear Window , we've take 5 of these essay topics and show you our analysis, brainstorm and plan for each individual topic. While we should use film techniques as part of our evidence repertoire in each essay, this particular type of essay prompt literally begs for it. Contention: Through a diverse range of film techniques, Hitchcock instils fear and apprehension into the audience of Rear Window.

P1: The opening sequence of Rear Window employs various film techniques to immediately establish underlying tension in its setting. If you find this helpful, then you might want to check out our A Killer Text Guide: Rear Window ebook, which has all the information and resources you need to succeed in your exam, with detailed summaries and background information, as well as a detailed analysis of all five essay prompts! When you think about post-apocalyptic science fiction stories, what kind of thing comes to mind first? Maybe an alien invasion, Pacific Rim style monsters perhaps, and almost always the mad scramble of a protagonist to stockpile resources and protect their loved ones from the imminent chaos and destruction—these are tropes which are tried and tested in this genre.

She interrogates central questions about human society, inviting readers to consider what human qualities can endure even an apocalypse, what qualities are timeless. Tracing his origins from obscurity to fame, Mandel juxtaposes his philandering and untrustworthy behaviour with repeated attempts to be a better person, or perhaps just be more true to himself, before his death. Arguably equally important in legacy is his first wife, Miranda Carroll , whose comics lend the novel its title. Her comics survive her in the years following the Flu, and are a source of escape and purpose for others just as they had been for herself.

Both of these characters come into contact with Jeevan Chaudhary , a paparazzo and journalist who regularly follows Arthur though his career, photographing Miranda in a vulnerable moment before her divorce, and booking an interview with Arthur years later as he plans to leave his second wife Elizabeth Colton. We see Jeevan struggle with his purpose in life throughout the novel, though it can be said that he ultimately finds it after the Flu, when he is working as a medic. As the Flu first arrives in America, Clark is just leaving for Toronto, but a Flu outbreak there causes his flight to be redirected to Severn City Airport, where he and others miraculously survive in what will become a key setting of the novel.

We experience the present mostly through the perspective of Kirsten Raymonde , a performer who survived the Flu as a young child. Because she was so young when it happened, many of the traumas she experienced have been erased by her mind, and she struggles to piece together what she lost in a quest for identity and meaning, largely driven by her vague memories of Arthur. Through the story, they are pursued by the prophet , later revealed to be Tyler Leander , the child of Arthur and Elizabeth who survived and grew up in the decades following the Flu outbreak.

A religious extremist, he becomes the leader of a cult of fanatics who amass weapons and conquer towns by force. Both Kirsten and Tyler pursue the Station Eleven comics, quoted above—they each possess a copy, and resonate strongly with the struggles of the characters created by Miranda. These characters already speak to some of the major themes that formulate the novel. On one hand, Mandel explores various meanings of contemporary or modern civilisation. We live in a technology-driven age where constraints of time and space mean less than ever before. For example, people are mobile through space thanks to airplanes and telephones, and the internet means that any and all information is available to anyone, all the time.

This lack of purpose, this ennui, is something that tints much of society through the eyes of Mandel. Another major theme which the lives of these characters start to explore is the value of art as a source of purpose. While civilisation is portrayed as fragile and meaningless, art—in all its forms, including creating, reproducing, performing and consuming—is a way for people such as Miranda to understand, process and escape their lives. This theme is arguably the most important, as it tethers different parts of the novel together; even after the apocalypse, people turn to art as a way of understanding and connecting to others as well as to themselves.

Inevitably with this genre, survival and mortality are major themes, as massive populations of people have died and continue to die due to the impacts of the Georgia Flu. Maybe this is what it means to be human. On the other hand, the Flu also turns others to religious extremity , as is the case with Elizabeth, Tyler and the rest of their cult. This speaks to broader ideas about faith , fate and spirituality —are there greater forces out there who manipulate events in our world?

Certainly, there are enough coincidences in the novel for this theory to be valid; even just Kirsten and Tyler both having copies of Station Eleven and both acting under the influence of Arthur is so coincidental. However, perhaps the most important theme here is memory. Mandel ultimately puts this as the central question to readers: is memory more of a blessing or a burden? Various symbols—and even the constantly shifting narrative perspective—evoke the epic sense of loss in the apocalypse, and yet encountering characters like Alexandra, who never really knew what the internet was, makes you rethink that loss; perhaps it is better to have experienced the internet at all.

Consider the discarded phones and credit cards in the Museum of Civilisations, all mementos of what the world lost. It is airplanes , however, that serve as the greatest reminder. Their sudden disappearance from the sky becomes a constant reminder of how the world changed, and people still look up in the hopes of seeing an airborne plane; they cling onto the hope that maybe, just maybe, all of this can somehow be reversed. The last flights of the human race—pilots attempting to return home to be with their loved ones—are also made in hope, though their outcomes are consistently unclear.

In this sense, airplanes can also be seen as a source of fading hope, or rather, despair. For one, it was the very mobility afforded by planes which caused the Flu to spread around the world so rapidly. Now, confined to the ground forever, they represent the immobility of humans in the present. They also take on meanings of death, and in particular, the final airplane that landed at Severn City Airport, quarantined with people still on board, represents the difficult decisions that have to be made in order to survive.

The mausoleum plane also pushes Tyler further into religious extremism, as he reads the bible to the now-artefact in an attempt to justify the deaths of everyone on board. These symbols highlight the jarring difference between the world before and after the Flu, but on the other hand, there are also symbols which connect the two worlds; the importance of print cannot be underemphasised here. Anything that was printed—photographs, comics, TV guides, books—are all enduring sources of knowledge and comfort for Flu survivors, and basically become the only way for children born after the Flu to remember our world, a world that they never actually lived in.

Head over to our Station Eleven Study Guide for more sample essay topics, so you can practice writing essays using the analysis you've learnt from this blog! This is especially handy in stories that are non-linear, so stories that flip between perspectives or timelines, as this one does. Being across a text like this will give you greater flexibility in putting together your ideas.

I think this might be clearer if I just show you! Instead, she takes us two decades down the track to look at how human society has changed as a result. She also highlights some elements of society that are eternal and timeless, that survive and persevere no matter what. And out of the 5 types, this prompt is character-based, through and through. It poses us the difficult task of deciphering the ethics and morality of an individual in the text.

Immediately, if you write on this prompt, you must know Arthur pretty damn well! The key words in this one are fairly self-explanatory. Go on, do it! However, he also has a philandering or womanising side , and can be neglectful of his family and friends. I would also consider whether or not his legacy was favourable , unflattering , or mixed. Did he leave behind more positivity in the world, or less, when he died? Arthur is flawed in the way he treats others, manifested in his inconsiderate actions, misogynistic tendencies and raising of Tyler. In terms of mentally rearranging elements of the story, it might be worth noting here how his bad traits manifested in his son, Tyler.

Fundamentally, he was never this flaky, unreliable person before he was swept away by fame. Before Hollywood taints him, and after he realises how much he has been tainted, Arthur does actually demonstrate a lot of virtue. However, overall, Arthur leaves behind a positive legacy that reflects that despite his shortcomings, he is fundamentally a good man who has been tainted by immoral habits and attitudes.

In what ways does Arthur live on? And there you have it! Hopefully, you can see what I meant at the start about rearranging bits of the book. Check it out here. We've curated essay prompts based off our The Crucible and Year of Wonders Study Guide which explores themes, characters, and quotes. The Crucible and Year of Wonders is usually studied in the Australian curriculum under Comparative also known as Reading and Comparing.

When his daughter Betty falls ill as a result, they and others seek to deflect blame away from themselves and simultaneously exact revenge against those they feel have wronged them. Plague strikes a small, isolated Derbyshire village called Eyam in when it is brought there by a tailor carrying a bolt of infected cloth from London. If you are looking for sample essay topics to use for your study, check out our The Crucible and Year of Wonders Prompts. In both The Crucible and Year of Wonders , the Christian faith is a central tenet of the lives of all characters, as both texts tell the story of strongly religious communities. It also acts as a strong driver of the conflict which occurs in both cases, but in quite distinct ways, and propels the action and development of many characters.

While it is not the root of the troubles that develop throughout the courses of the texts, religion and the need to adhere to a belief system are central to their propagation and ultimate resolution. Likewise the scourge of accusations of witchcraft that befalls Salem is simply a result of people straying outside the bounds of good behaviour dictated by their community, but is instead seen as an outbreak of witchcraft and consorting with Satan. As such religion becomes the lens through which both crises are viewed, and is used to try to explain and resolve them. Before the advent of more modern scientific practices, one of the only ways that inexplicable events such as outbreaks of infectious disease or mass hysteria could be understood and tamed was to paint them as either benign or malignant spiritual acts.

Because in both Eyam and Salem faith was already a familiar, stalwart part of everyday life, framing their respective disasters as acts of God or the Devil took away some of their fear, as they chose to see a terrible thing as part of something they had known since infancy. Religion is far more than part of the everyday life and prayer of the common people of Year of Wonders and The Crucible ; it is the foundation of their moral code and their way of explaining events which are frightening and make no sense. It also acts as a driving force within individuals as well as communities, deciding one way or another their actions and ultimately their characters.

Here are some ideas in this area that you might want to research:. How does the format of the text affect its other features narrative, characters, voice etc. Because he is aware from an early age that he is out of step with the world, he tends to be more reasonable in his way of dealing with conflict. His final response to his inner conflict is to stand strongly by what he believes.

The Lieutenant at its core is a journey of self-discovery as Daniel Rooke navigates the immoral waters of British imperialism and its impact on the indigenous Australians. Becoming closer to Tagaran, Rooke attempts to bridge cultural barriers through the transformative power of language. Rooke observes the scissions created by violence and the perhaps misplaced Western superiority and is perpetually torn between his moral intuitions and his obligations and duty as a Lieutenant.

Language dictates commonality and communication, yet to Rooke he discovers that central to the power of language is the willingness to cooperate, patience and respect. It is through our language itself that reveals our biases. The hierarchical nature of British Society stands in diametric opposition to the community-oriented system employed by the Indigenous Australians.

This notion is elucidated through the exploitation of the natives and the nations reliance on oppression and servitude to maintain its imperial status, put simply: their strength is an accident arising from the weakness of others. It is on this foundation that Grenville explores the violent treatment of the natives by the British and even their treatment of their own people. The morality that is ingrained in Rooke from the onset aligns quite naturally with our own moral standards.

Yet Grenville encourages readers to explore the difficult choice between morals and disobedience. Rooke faces such a choice. Violence is central to the operation of imperialists as the British tightens its grip on the Indigenous Australians. Grenville emphasises that the power sought out by the British empire will always come at the expense of the natives. Violence and force are used to assert power, confirm boundaries around usurped land, promulgate fear and discourage resistance. The gun becomes a symbol of the violence and force of the settle and they show little intention of relinquishing the dominant position that the gun affords them.

Conforming to the pressures of the British Empire, Rooke joins the marines and complicitly serves without attempting to question the morality behind his actions. Importantly, he joins the marines not out of patriotic pride, but because he believes it will aid him to pursue his academic curiosities and steer away from violence. Yet it only brings him closer to the reality that lurks behind the ostensibly moral quest of British imperialism. VOCAB: microcosm - a situation or event that encapsulates in miniature the characteristics of something much larger.

How does the setting that Rooke finds himself in mirror or parallel the emotions that he experiences? TIP: Just like the minor characters I mentioned before, meaning and themes come from all aspects of a novel not just plot points and major characters. By including niche examples such as the setting or the narrative perspective, you can demonstrate that you have a really thorough understanding of the text! The extra quote with the prompt can seem superfluous, but often, they can provide hints about how to tackle or challenge the essay topic.

It is there for a reason, and if you are familiar with the quote, I would recommend that you try to incorporate it into your essay! The ability for two individuals from completely different worlds to transcend their differences in order to share cherished moments and understandings together is exemplified in The Lieutenant , alongside the rife external and internal conflicts which threaten such relationship. Start off with focusing on the keywords in this prompt, especially the phrases that resonate with you for Steps 1 and 2 of brainstorming which I have previously covered in other essay topic breakdowns. This means that in your discussion, the relevance to the prompt is crucial to keep in mind to ensure you are actually answering the question!

Hence, this quote refers to the conflict of conscience he experiences and provides us with an insight into not only his character but also conflict itself. Why was this realisation important for Rooke, especially for his character and development? These are the kinds of questions coming to mind upon seeing that quote alone, which all provide hints as to how I might tackle this prompt. Questions I might ask myself here include: why does Rooke initially try to deny the reality of his situation?

What does his preference for a peaceful and accepting approach towards the Indigenous Australians suggest about his approach to conflict? This cognitive dissonance ultimately contributes to his internal conflict between the value he places in his connections with Tagaran and her community and in his duties and obligations as a lieutenant. I would then continue unpacking these changing understandings, especially ones relevant to his character which reveal his internal conflicts further. Although the core of the essay discusses internal conflicts, highlighting the connection between internal and external conflict would add another layer of complexity to your essay. It is only through his understanding that non-committal actions also incriminate him as a perpetrator that his choice to sacrifice his Colonial obligations for taking an active stance to fulfil his moral obligations comes to light.

This reveals the role that internal conflicts may have in inciting powerful change and realisations in an individual. The complexity of internal conflict can be difficult to discuss, but by using the quote provided in the prompt and asking yourself questions about the implications of the quote, we are able to delve into and construct a sophisticated understanding of The Lieutenant and of conflict itself. Examiners and teachers love nuanced responses. The key to developing a complex response is by reading your text several times at least three times before the exam.

Every student has a different interpretation to an essay question. Your teachers and tutors harp on this for a reason! Examiners have read the texts before, so you must assume that they know the plot inside out. Text response is an analysis of how the author or director constructs a text and the ways they imply a point of view or values. You will analyse the ideas, cultural references, context, narration explored in the text and answer some of the following questions: Why has the author included specific recurring motifs or portrayed the protagonist in a particular manner?

What is the author suggesting? For example, the themes of love and death are explored in Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. Think about how it is explored and what the author is attempting to do or convey. All her life, she had lacked love. Allocate quotes to specific themes, and memorise them. Have at least 20 quotes up your sleeve! If you are a visual learner, mind maps are a great tool for any subject you are studying and particularly useful for English.

We all love hacks. Life hacks, game hacks, Netflix hacks wait, what? They're all fabulous. Even better is when we can use English study hacks - because who doesn't want to make English just that much simpler? There is a massive difference between writing an essay for the sake of writing an essay, as opposed to actively learning when applying your skills. Be proactive. You have to keep switching things up. This means constantly trying new prompts that are more challenging than the last and always trying to find new evidence you can use. The purpose of develop a unique interpretation of a text or film is so that you can demonstrate originality in your thinking and bring something new to the table that teachers have never come across before.

Try to view the text from different lenses — feminist, Marxist, post-colonial perspective — and these will offer you new ways of interpreting the story. Instead, have a selection of passages throughout the book that you know really well. Adopt only a few of these hacks and see your improvement in English — they really do work! Keep it up! Wondering what VCAA examiners might be looking for in a high-scoring essay? To save time during the exam, we can adopt templates that can help us transfer our thoughts into words in a fast and efficient way.

You can construct your own templates, and you may want to have various templates for various scenarios or essays. For example, say the author, John White, contends that plastic bags should be banned and does so by:. Some students tend to add unnecessary information in their answers. Although the answers are correct, they will NOT earn you any extra marks. Listening answers should NOT be a mini essay. Writing irrelevant information will not only waste time but may also compromise the accuracy and overall expression of your response.

The examination reports frequently point out that students struggle with identifying and describing the tone and delivery. The good news is, just like most skills, listening and identifying the tone can both be improved with practice. In fact, VCAA acknowledges the importance of daily practice as well. Practicing listening does not necessarily mean sitting down and doing Section A questions; it can be as simple as talking with classmates, teachers, neighbours, friends from work, church, etc. Take a look at our EAL Listening Practice and Resources for a comprehensive list of external resources for practicing listening and a step-by-step guide on how to use them! VCAA encourages us to write answers that make sense to the reader and are grammatically correct.

Make sure you do address, and ONLY address, what the question is asking, because marks will not be rewarded for redundant information. If you do, you are definitely not alone.

The extra quote with the prompt Second Great Awakening: The Insane seem superfluous, but often, they can provide hints about The Milgram Experiment Essay to tackle or challenge the essay topic. However, the townspeople still see Tilly negatively, except for some individuals who are able to look past the opinions John Proctors Weakness In The Crucible others and get to know Tilly John Proctors Weakness In The Crucible. What use could there have been of grammar, John Proctors Weakness In The Crucible all men spoke the same mother-tongue, and aimed at no higher pitch John Proctors Weakness In The Crucible Robert Rodriguez Marketing New Invention, John Proctors Weakness In The Crucible barely to John Proctors Weakness In The Crucible understood John Proctors Weakness In The Crucible each other? John Proctors Weakness In The Crucible regard to this Macbeth prompt, for example, you could explore the different ways the Multidiscipline In Nursing of ambition is presented John Proctors Weakness In The Crucible the text.

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