People’s true character is revealed through their actions. Their morals and ethics can be told from how they choose to act in a situation. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible; the character of John Proctor is an honorable man despite having committed wrongful acts. He was able to redeem himself through acts that is considered courageous, such as when he refuses to contribute to the lie of witchcraft in Salem, when he fights for the people who were convicted of witchcraft and when he regrets being a dishonest man.
At first glance, the playwright Arthur Miller in The Crucible highlights the historical significance of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, but in fact it is an allegorical expression of his perception of McCarthyism. If the reader has some background information on Arthur Miller’s victimization as a communist, it is evident that the play is a didactic vessel illustrating the flaws of the court system in the 1950’s. The communist allegations were launched at government employees, entertainers and writers, without the proper regard for evidence. In order to alert the media and the citizens in the United States of the Red Scare, and its injustice, Miller writes The Crucible. His play serves as mirror image of the way the government in 1950
The primary dramatic focus in the play The Crucible is the moral struggle of its protagonist, John Proctor. Certain characteristics of John Proctor's character and also the environment of the Puritanical Salem alleviated this problem for him. The main issues running through out the play are a series of dilemmas that John Proctor faces. The first and foremost of these is his guilt over his adulterous affair with Abigail Williams, the second his hesitation to testify against Abigail to bring out the truth and the third, his final decision to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Rebellious, guilt-ridden, intelligent, and outspoken describes John Proctor. He is the main character in the drama: The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Over two-hundred innocent people were convicted of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 when hysteria swept through the town, no one could believe their closest friends. John Proctor and others show the consequences of Abigail accusing everyone of witchcraft. John shows us that suffering harsh consequences is better than lying.
Confessing to a crime you didn’t commit to avoid a punishment is a wise, logical, and sensible thing to do. John Proctor is dead. That was the result when he decided not to confess and accepted the penalty of execution. Proctor had the chance to be free if he had just confessed to the crime he didn’t commit. It sounds obtuse, but in twisted situations like The Witch Trials (where confessing to witchcraft would free one from the accusation, and not confessing would condemn oneself to death) giving a false confession would save ones life. If one really cares so much as to be executed for the preservation of their name, then there would be nothing to deter them from standing up for themselves. On the other hand, if they had just confessed, then
John Proctor’s decision to die for his name was the wrong one because despite his attempt to die an honest man, his name would remain tainted by his sinful affair regardless of whether he decided to live or die. The reality of Proctor’s decision is that he abandoned his wife, their three sons, and their unborn child for an ultimately futile act of self-sacrifice made for the approval of the townspeople. Throughout the course of the book, Proctor’s guilt from his affair with Abigail continuously guides his decisions and the moment it came time to decide whether to confess and live or maintain his innocence and hang was no different. Proctor decided that he would rather die than taint his name, but this decision stems from the guilt which constantly
He confesses to get his wife Elizabeth out of prison and uncover the reason for her being accused. He knows that Abigail is trying to get Elizabeth killed so that her desire to marry John can finally be met. John realized this and again spoke out against injustice. Proctor wanted to honor those who died faithfully and therefore admits to the sin he has been hiding. He feels he “cannot mount the gibbet like a saint”(136) and therefore first admits to lechery before he is executed.
John Proctor longs to protect his name. After being falsely accused of witchcraft, out of spite by Abigail Williams, Proctor could easily save himself at the mere price of his reputation by lying and admitting to committing the crime of witchcraft. John battles with himself between doing the honorable thing and hanging alongside his friends for a lie or saving himself from the gallows and living with the burden of knowing that he dishonored his fellow prisoners.Although Proctor does admit to witchcraft, he refuses to sign over his precious name on it. John explains,
At the trial, Proctor no longer tried to protect himself and admits to having an affair with Abigail, explains
Proctor 's decision to tell the court about his affair ironically demonstrates his goodness. He also spoke up for the innocent girls that had their names branded. He willingly sacrifices his good name in order to protect his wife and others who are wrongly accused. Only through his public acknowledgment of the affair does Proctor regain his wife 's trust. At the end of the play, Proctor refuses to slander himself by allowing the court to make him make a false confession. The court told him to lie, and that if he lies that he would not be sent to the gallows. He did the right decision by telling the truth about his affair with Abigail. He honestly told the truth about the affair, and that he was not part of the witchcraft. His response further exemplifies Proctor 's integrity. But John was not guilty. He had nothing to do with witchcraft, he admitted to his own mistakes. Proctor knows that if he confesses that he will be damned himself, yet again, if he agrees to confess, he will also be free from the torment from the demon inside him and set others free too. This realization, along with Elizabeth 's forgiveness, enables Proctor to forgive himself and finally regain his good name and self-respect. As the court
His first display of this is shown when the Court officials come to take Elizabeth away. Proctor was so angered by this attack on his house that he ripped the warrant and told them to leave his house. He then tried to bribe Herrick, a court official, not to chain her, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. Proctor recognized that he could save his wife by making his relationship with Abigail public, and therefore expose her motives, but his pride keeps him from doing so. Finally though, Proctor abandoned his concern for his reputation which enabled him to admit his sin in order to save his wife.
Proctor portrays his honesty in many ways. First, he confesses to the court about his affair with Abigail. This shows that he is willing to admit his wrongdoings. Secondly, Proctor also denies Abigail when she comes to him again. He knows he has made a mistake in getting involved with her in the first place and does not want to make the same mistake again. John Proctor shows his honesty when he says to
John Proctor also lies throughout The Crucible. Although he has come clean to his wife, Elizabeth, about his love affair with Abigail, it is still a secret to the rest of the citizens of Salem. John is severely ashamed of his act of adultery, and has trouble admitting it to himself. When Elizabeth suggests early on,”I think you must tell him[Hale], John” (Miller 67), Proctor evades admitting the truth to Reverend Hale of his affair even though it could have been a valid excuse for the Proctor family’s lack of attendance at church and John’s inability to say the commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” In Act III, when John finally is forced to admit his clandestine affair with Abigail to the court, nobody believes him. Because John has waited so long to confess his affair, it just looks like a poor attempt to save him and Elizabeth from the indictments. If John had divulged the secret of his affair earlier on, people might scorn him for his sin, but he would have evaded the allegations of witchcraft.