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Character Profile - Giles Corey

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Nabilah Chowdhury, 11Ra
Character Profile: Giles Corey
Character Profile – Giles Corey
Opening Impression:
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“Is she going to fly again? I hear she flies”, we can see that Giles, just like most of the villagers, is being swept
into the hysteria, albeit on a much lower level as he seems to be more interested that something is finally
happening in the small town of Salem then in an uproar about witchcraft such as the Putnam’s.
Miller seems to use Giles to reinforce the how at times the only possible response in an unreasonable world
is silence, a refusal to take part, “More weight”.
Quotations & Analysis:
"Think on it. Wherefore is everybody suing everybody else? Think on it now, it's a deep thing, and dark as a pit.”
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Reveals how Giles is able to see through the hysteria
"I have some queer questions of my own to ask this fellow"
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Shows how even though Giles can see through some of the hysteria, he cannot see through it all as he still
asks authority figures for advise on the topic of witchcraft.
"I tried and tried but could not say my prayers" and "That she stopped his prayer is very probable, but he forgot to
say that he'd only recently learned any prayers and It didn't take him much to stumble over them."
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Shows how Giles is being swept into the hysteria a bit as he is unknowingly giving what the court and
hysterical people would call "evidence" that his wife is a witch.
"I never said my wife were a witch, Mr. Hale; I only said she were reading books!"
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Here we can see that Giles obviously can see through the hysteria strongly regrets having told anyone about
the books
"You’re hearing lies, lies!"
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Giles rage echoes the frustration of the audience who may wish to shout a similar thing.
The irony that he cannot show his strong evidence further reveals the absurdity of the witch hunt and the
allegations leveled against the accused.
"You're not a Boston judge yet, Hathorne. You'll not call me daft!
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We see again Giles’ determination and willingness to challenge authority figures.
"He means to hang us all!"
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We can see Giles’ cynical insight into the situation; an insight that Proctor does not share as he still seems to
believe that the truth will prevail.
Perhaps Miller is using Giles to show that sometimes the only possible response in an unreasonable world is
silence, a refusal to take part.
“…he could not be condemned a wizard without he answer the indictment, aye or nay."
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Giles’ contemptuous response of ‘more weight’ marks him out as another heroic character in the play who
refused to submit to the pressures (in this case literal) of society and valued his sense of personal integrity
above his life.
GCSE English Literature Exam Notes
1
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