Examine how the character of Mary Warren changes throughout the play I have chosen to write this essay on Mary Warren because I found her development through the play very interesting. In the beginning Mary Warren is powerless, weak and frightened, but as the play progresses she changes. While reading this play, my feelings towards Mary warren, have gone from not really being bothered about her to even hating her for what she did to Proctor. In the beginning of the play Mary Warren is a feeble servant who is shouted at and put down callously. My point is backed up by the following extract:
Mary- ” Oh! I’m just going home, Mr Proctor. ” Proctor- ” Be you foolish, Mary Warren? Be you deaf… I am looking for you more often than my cows! … I’ll show you a great doin’ on your arse one of these days. Now get you home; my wife is waitin’ with your work! ” Mary is weak and can’t stand-up for herself after being snubbed and does what Proctor says. This shows that she might know that what he says is true and stays in role, of servant, by not answering back. This almost makes the audience, myself included, feel sympathy towards her because she is so small compared to Proctor.
Mary Warren was quite good at getting herself out of trouble. My point is illustrated by the following quote: ” I made a gift for you today, Goody Proctor. I had to sit long hours in a chair, and passed the time with sewing. ” Mary had just come back from court and Proctor was furious at her for going against his wishes. She uses the doll to try and compensate and to try to calm Proctor down a bit. This lets the audience/reader in on another, almost wicked, side to Mary. At this stage I think Mary Warren slowly starts to change, some how building up the courage to take the risk of trying to sway Proctors mood.
She thinks she is, for the first time important. Mary’s character drastically changes at this point where she has more courage to answer back to Proctor, this is shown by the following passage: Mary- “I would have you speak civilly to me, from this out. ” Proctor- (in horror, muttering in disgust at her) ” Go to bed. ” Mary- ” I’ll not be ordered to bed no more, Mr Proctor! I am eighteen and a woman, how ever single! ” As if from nowhere she has worked up the nerve to defend her self and tells Proctor what she will and will not do. Her bravery came as surprise to me and probably did to other people as well.
This was the first of her vast personality change she becomes stronger and assertive. I think this sudden occurrence of courage and strength came from her feeling importance because of the trails and her part in them, what she says, probably for the first time, is valued and asked for. In Act 3, Mary’s strength is lost and she goes back to being fragile and frightened and due to this she does what she thinks is right and accuses Proctor of witchcraft. This is shown by the following quote: ” I cannot lie no more, I am with god, with god! … Lord, save me! ” (Turning to them al hysterically and stamping her foot) ” Abby, stop it!
“… (Pointing at Proctor)” You’re the devils man! ” (Proctor is stopped in his tracks. ) Mary is being falsely accused and can’t take the pressure and completely breaks down, maybe because of all the taunting and lies made up about her by Abigail and the other girls. She stamps her foot showing a sign of distress, she doesn’t want to be there. I feel very sorry for her because she is going through all this pain and Abigail and the other girls are making it even harder for her. She doesn’t know what to do and does the worst thing yet, blames Proctor. The reader/audience probably hate her now.
I still feel it was wrong of her to do this because even though she was under all that strain. I don’t think the audience can begin to understand what she is going through because they don’t know what is happening insider her, inside her head. I think that one of the reasons she turned on Proctor was because in the beginning he didn’t treat her like a human but more like a pet to obey his rules. My point is illustrated by the following quote: “I’ll show you great doin’ on you arse on of these days. Now get you home. My wife is waitin’ with your work! ” Proctor says this with displeasure because maybe he wants Mary to be scared of him.
Maybe by being nasty to her he is trying to send Elizabeth a message: that he wasn’t going to have an affair with her. So in a way he is making up for being so soft on Abigail, thus is unfair to Mary. From this point of the play the audience/reader experiences a hotheaded side of Proctor and may not like him on first impressions. Another reason why I think Mary turned on Proctor was she might have thought that she would get revenge for the way he used to treat her, but I don’t think she wanted him to die, just to feel her pain. Studying Mary Warren showed us different sides to her.
We see her as fragile, frightened, lonely and unimportant. This has changed by Act 2 though. She has changes in attitude towards different people especially Proctor and by Act 3 Mary has broken down and is back to what she was in the beginning. The viciousness of Abigail and the pressure of the Judges and Proctor shatter all her confidence and strength. Mary took advantage of her position because normally women didn’t have much say in anything. In a way, you can say, she was doing this for all the other women with no say in the community. I think she wanted to do the right thing but she was too overwhelmed by power and decisions.