ANALYZING JOHN PROCTOR THROUGH MUSIC a PLAYLIST ASSIGNMENT- ENG 52 - BY AVIRAL GARG

ABOUT THE BOOK - THE CRUCIBLE

In Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, Puritan minister Reverend Parris finds a group of girls dancing naked in the forest. Among them are his niece Abigail and daughter Better, who faints upon being discovered by her father. Knowing that they've sinned, the girls claim they were bewitched.

Given the severity of the claims, a special court is founded to investigate the accusations of witchcraft. Judges are sent from Boston to assist the residents of small town Salem. During the trials, the girls scream and faint whenever one of the supposed witches takes the stand.

Over a hundred of Salem's citizens are found to be witches. One of them, Elizabeth Proctor, proclaims her innocence to her husband, John. Her accuser, Abigail, was once an employee and was dismissed after Elizabeth discovered that John and Abigail were having an affair.

Realizing that Abigail has incited this witch hunt to target her enemies, John fights to save his wife. He admits his adultery, only to be accused of devil worship when Abigail denies the affair. John and Elizabeth are convicted of communing with the devil. The pregnant Elizabeth is spared, but John is hanged.

TILL I COLLAPSE

The song Till I collapse is packed with vigor and power. The song opens with a "stomp-stomp-clap" beat that is full of energy, that is maintained throughout the song . The tempo picks up at 0:35 seconds and doesn’t drop till the end. The tempo picks up at 0:35 seconds and doesn’t drop till the end. This mirrors John's attitude towards life and work, he is extremely dedicated not only to his work but also to his commitment to justice. He goes out of his way to support the local people from the wrath of the church.

Also the metallic guitar strumming in the background gives the song an aggressive feel. John's aggressive nature is predominantly visible throughout the play specially during his opening dialogues with Reverend Pariss.

The songs lyrics and Marshall Mathers style of rapping on the whole emulate the passion, vigor and aggressiveness of John's character.

UNFAITHFUL

This song opens with a slow beat accompanied only by piano, which helps in building up tension in the song. From the 00:54 sec the tempo of the song increases and violin and vocals also join in. Even in John's relationship initially when Elizabeth finds out about his affair there is a slow build up of tension but then things start to get extremely serious.

This song about unfaithfulness fits the character of John Proctor quite perfectly, because even though the outside world sees him as this virtuous human, he has a hamartia (fatal flaw) that he cheated on his wife with their 17 year old helper Abigail. Though this was a one-time occurrence for John where he let lust overpower his rational decision making ability, he has lost the trust of his wife. The pain is evident in Rihanna’s voice which shows that she regrets her actions. Even in john's case he feels extremely guilty for his actions and would probably do anything to go back in time and change it. The song compares the guilt of unfaithfulness to that of a murderer, which is very fitting, because John is unable to get over this feeling of remorse.

NOT AFRAID

The message of the song is expressed quiet clearly in the lyrics and tells us that it is about people rising over their fears and standing up for what they believe in even though it may not be an easy task. This song fits John’s character quite well because even he has a rebellious attitude towards anything that he feels is incorrect. He is a leader in the sense that he revolts against the church which is accusing people of death and hanging people without any concrete evidence.

Just like the song, John dares to stand up and fight for what he believes is correct and encourages other people to do similarly. The song has a staedy rhythm that is maintained throughout the song just like John stands firmly against the wrongdoings in his society.

LOST IN THE ECHO

This song reflects the despair in John’s character. The song has a despondent tone to it, which is accentuated by the way “GO…” is stretched which shows that it’s trying to escape something but not succeeding. In the play John is desperately trying to get rid of his guilt of having an affair and hoping that Elizabeth can trust him again, but he knows that this is almost impossible to happen.

People shouting and howling, at 2:30 sec in the video capture the feeling of losing something important to oneself, in John’s case it is self respect and Elizabeth’s trust. The pace of the song never slows down just like John’s attempts to escape his situation. Even the lyrics help in bringing this out.

HEROES

In the closing scene of the play, he is made an offer whereby if he gives a false confession he will not be hanged to death and his punishment will be reduced. Though John is tempted to accept the offer, he realizes that it would be wrong. By walking on this path of righteousness John becomes a hero for himself and the people around him. By taking this decision since he is able to regain the self-respect he had lost because of cheating with Abigail.

This is a powerful song with a catchy tune, and the melody created by the combination of guitar, drums and synthesizer leaves the audience with a sense of hope and positivity. Just like John with his heroic behavior becomes our role model.

THANK YOU!

Credits:

Created with images by Newtown grafitti - "Cheating" • PublicDomainPictures - "kite parachute sea" • moebius.arts - "Lost Places" • charlemagne - "budapest heroes ' square the archangel" • Emily McCracken - "Thanks"

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