How Does Arthur Miller Use Contrast In The Present

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How does Arthur Miller use Contrast in the Presentation of the Characters Abigail, Mrs Putnam and Rebecca Nurse? Arthur Miller’s presentation of the characters Abigail, Mrs Putnam and Rebecca Nurse contrast to each other in such a way that it adds to the characterisation of the characters. However, it is not just the use of contrast that adds to this effect, but also the use of similarity. In general, Abigail is vengeful, selfish, manipulative, and a magnificent liar, Mrs. Putnam is bitter about the loss of all her babies and feels resentment to those who have been more fortunate than herself but does not intend serious harm or hatred towards others and finally Rebecca Nurse is a pillar of the community, a devoutly religious and kind hearted woman. Now from those brief descriptions we can already see the difference in the characterization of all three characters. Although Abigail’s character appears to be one that is instantly dislikeable because of her selfish ways, she is by no means stupid. She knows how to manipulate other people into acting the way that she wants them to act and her control over them is what makes her an effective antagonist. Mrs. Putnam on the other hand appears not to have been as well educated as Abigail. She instantly jumps to the conclusion that witchcraft is afoot, which is apparent when she states “Mark it for a sign, mark it!” when Betty thrashes in her “trance.” She is also paranoid by the fact that there must be some paranormal reason as to why her babies have perished. And it is these traits that differentiate her from Abigail. This use of contrast by Miller emphasizes the characterization of the two characters. But it is Rebecca Nurse who stands out among this crowd. Both Abigail and Mrs. Putnam are bitter and to a certain extent spiteful yet Rebecca Nurse carries none of these mannerisms. Her heart is in the right place, she tries
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