I found that both plays are very similar in how women are portrayed and how they are suppressed in society. However as previously mentioned there are contradictions within both texts and what one person may see another maybe cannot. IN the Crucible Abigail is shown as the “marriage wrecker”, even a selfish young girl who likes to cause destruction in peoples lives and finds happiness in others misery. However, John Proctor is the adult in this situation and he was the one who was bound to another by marriage, could it be that he in fact seduced Abigail the young girl that she is into having an affair with him for his own sexual pleasure.
Abigail has had a lot of heartache in her life as he had lost both parents and is now an orphan living with her uncle, parries. She must want to be loved by another and so when John Proctor took an interest she fell in love with him, ‘An orphan who has been dependant on her churlish uncle, Parris, Abigail sees in Proctor the first person who treated her as a woman rather than a childish nuisance. Her desire for he seems to transcend the physical, and she has magnified the importance he holds in her life beyond reasonable expectation.’11 But on the other hand ‘Evidently still in love with proctor despite her dismissal (for which she blames his wife), Abigail cleverly uses the towns superstitious leanings to her own advantage’.
The play suggests the seductive nature of women. I saw Abigail’s character as being riddled with desire for John Proctor and she would atop at nothing to have what she wanted. Abigail tries to seduce John Proctor in the barn her language is suggestive, ‘Abigail: A wild thing may say wild things’.13 However on the contrary it could have been that John initially had a desire for Abigail and led her on for his own desire, and she fell in love. But Miller chose to portray Abigail as the seductress this too does not show a good impression of a woman.
This is also the same in a streetcar Named desire. At the beginning Blanche is portrayed as naive and fragile, you can tell that a part of her has died because of the stresses of her past experiences. She then gets violated by her sisters’ husband and is weakened again in character. However, what we come to realise is that Blanche isn’t as delicate and as pure as we think when it is revealed that she was in fact a prostitute and loses her job at a school for having sexual relations with a seventeen year old pupil.
A lot of readers would see Blanche as the main character, the one who’s story it is about but when Stanley rapes their roles reverse as he becomes the one in control, Karzan’s articulation of Blanche’s through-line of action shows that, like most readers of the play, he considered her to be the protagonist. The protagonist is traditionally the character who faces obstacles in pursuit of a goal, one who makes things happen while holding the interest and sympathy of the reader or audience member and one who’s crucial choice (crisis) determines the outcome of the action……The climax to A Streetcar Named desire is undoubtedly Stanley’s rape of blanche, which occurs at the end of scene10.
Thus some critics pinpoint Stanley’s decision to violate his antagonist as the plays crisis, and this would identify Stanley as the plays protagonist…..Stanley Kowalski not only had the audience rooting for his victory over blanche’14 I have explored the two plays along with women’s rights in America and I have answered the question that America is a misogynist society. The way that miller writes the crucible and how the women are portrayed in that creates seeds in my mind as to what society was like in the 1950s when the play was written and how indifferent.
America is today, A Street Car Named Desire, although set in a different era was written at the same time and for me it although it may just be for theatrical purposes and to create a story which can be interesting for the viewer it still stays along the theme that women are of less importance to men by the fact that blanche is now a desperate women who was looking for love because of the hurt a man had caused to her. In the same instance Abigail in the Crucible her act of raising the communities superstition of devilish activities shows her desperation and she conjures the whole community into getting sucked in to this idea of witches and devil worshipping all because John Proctor did not love her back.
Over the years there have been laws in America which meant that women had less priorities than men in which I studied in McBride Stetsons book. I have come to a final decision that America was a misogynist society but as it stands today I feel women are more or less equal with men. However what makes America a misogynist society is a mans depiction of a woman, and if the only two people I could look at were Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams then I would set my answer of yes America is a misogynist society in Stone.
The Cambridge Companion to Tennessee Williams, Felicity Hardison Londre, Cambridge University Press, 1997
The Ceucible, Arthur Miller, Penguin 1968
Student Companion to Arthur Miller, Susan Abbotson, Greenwood Press, 2000
A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams, Heinman, 1995