-Situation: John Proctor and his wife, Elizabeth Proctor, are in their home having a small spat over John's infidelity. He is arguing that he has forgotten the girl he had an affair with (Abigail Williams) and "aims to please" Elizabeth; therefore, she should forgive him. She claims to have forgiven him but was hurt when she found out they were alone together for a moment, even though they were only talking. The challenge of his authority as the head of the household greatly angers him. In addition to his fight with his wife, another thing angering him is the fact that he forbade Mary Warren from going to Salem, but she must go because she is ordered by law. When Mary Warren walks in, he attempts to take his frustrations out on her.
-Quote: "Proctor: I'll whip you if you dare leave this house again!
Mary Warren: I am sick, I am sick, Mr. Proctor. Pray, pray, hurt me not. My insides are all shuddery; I am in the proceedings all day, sir." (Miller 2. 1. 53).
-Explain the character's argument and the flaw in the situation: In order to stop Proctor from hurting her, she claims that she is sick. This red herring fallacy uses Mary Warren's illness to deter Proctor from his original plan of beating her. Proctors directs his anger at the fact that she left the house when he specifically ordered her not to, but Mary Warren alleges sickness instead of simply justifying the true reason for her going to Salem: which is the court order requiring her to be present at all proceedings. Although the reader cannot be certain that this argument would be as effective as claiming illness, it would have been a direct response to the reason Proctor intended to beat her.
-Success/effectiveness: The level of success is ascertained by the fact that Proctor never ended up hurting her. She successfully distracted him from his violent intentions of beating her. The repetitive nature of the red herring, specifically "I'm sick! I'm sick" and "pray, pray," creates a panicked tone. She knows the position she is in and very quickly realizes she needs to save herself. Therefore, the extreme effectiveness of the fallacy can be attributed to instinctive self-defense. When a person is sick, they are perceived as weaker and more delicate, so her pallor would have thrown Proctor off enough so that he did not want to hurt her.
-Example: "Elizabeth: JohnI think I must go with them. He cannot bear to look at her. Mary, there is enough bread for the morning; you will bake in the afternoon. Help Mr. Proctor as you were his daughter you owe me that, and much more. She is fighting her weeping. To Proctor: when the children wake, speak nothing of witchcraft will frighten them. She cannot go on.
Proctor: I will bring you home. I will bring you home soon." (Miller 2. 1. 73).
-Analyze effect, advancement of the play, and characters involved: Once Abigail officially accuses Elizabeth of using witchcraft to stab her with a sew...