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John Proctor - The Crucible

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Sahir Shivji

on 9 October 2013

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Transcript of John Proctor - The Crucible

The Crucible
John Proctor
Character Overview
John Proctor is the protagonist of The Crucible. Before the play begins, we are told of his affair with Abigail Williams, which created Abigail's jealousy of Proctor's wife, Elizabeth. This jealousy was the motivation behind the witch trials and created all of the hysteria involved with them. Abigail accuses Elizabeth Proctor of witchcraft in attempts to get rid of Elizabeth so Abigail can replace her as Proctor's wife.
Reputation VS Integrity
In the beginning of the play, Proctor cared more about his reputation than his integrity, but Proctor changes.
John is faced with a moral decision to up an end to the power Abigail holds over Salem, he could
confess to his affair with Abigail- at risk off ruining his reputation.
He attempts to reveal Abigail as a fraud through Marry Warren's accusation, but his attempt fails.
He realizes that he must confess to his affair to save his wife's life.
At this point, he has
carrying more about his integrity than reputation.
In the final Act, he refuses to confess to witchcraft in order to save his integrity and his soul. He no longer cares about what the town thinks of him, but about what he thinks of himself.
Personality Traits:
When Proctor tried to convince everyone that the girls were lying, was an instance of bravery because children were thought of as the vice of god and they were pure of blemishes.
Proctor also fought the court trying to keep them from convicting his spouse even though nobody else would dare to do.
Another quality that made him brave was when he confessed to the court that he had an affair with Abigail just to save his life.
Bad Temper
When friendly discussion did not work, Proctor would resort to shouting and even physical violence.
There are occasions throughout the play when he threatens to whip his wife, his servant-girl, and his ex-mistress.
The exclamation mark implies a powerful voice.
‘Heart’ suggests his own personal opinion.
‘I think’ could show arrogance and also shows that he values his own opinion, which adds to his arrogance.
John Proctor speaks his mind when he recognizes injustice.
Throughout the play, he openly disagrees with the actions of Reverend Parris, a choice that ultimately leads to his execution.
‘I may speak with my heart, I think!’
Surface Nature
* a sense of restraint, lacking friendliness: “Are you [Elizabeth] well today?” she simply responds, “I am” (pg. 50)

*an unusual pattern of dialogues—when one partner speaks longer, the other partner responds with brevity: Procter says, “I think we’ll see green fields soon. It’s warm as blood beneath the clods.” – Elizabeth responds, “That’s well.” (pg. 50)
Elizabeth says, “Pray God. It hurt my heart to strip her, poor rabbit.” – Proctor responds, “It’s well seasoned.” (pg. 50)

• The warmth of the stew contradicts the claustrophobic and cold relationship between Proctor and Elizabeth.
• There is still a thread of love that exists in the married couple, perhaps a bond that has formed over the years. They seem to struggle to overcome past grudges and reconcile.
• The married couples' refusal to forgive and forget further accentuates the sense of sadness.
The other side of Proctor
* “Ah, you’re wicked yet, aren’t y’!”: His answer reveals his ‘dark passion’ that he suppresses beneath his calm, firm persona. Living in the Puritan community, Proctor had been restricted in what Abigail sees as a “dull” life, with no entertainments.

*“Do you look for whippin?”: As Abigail continues to criticize Elizabeth, Proctor finally breaks out. He threatens to whip her.
• Honest and dignified man - takes pride in his reputation, enjoys exposing hypocrisy in others
- Act 1: caged by guilt (sin from committing adultery with Abigail)
- Lost respect, emotionally confused
- Willingness to regain his good name sets the foundation of the play
• Good-natured
- First introduced as he enters Reverend Parris's house to check on the health of Betty
• Susceptible to violence
- Critical flaw: his temper
- When his claims are not supported, Proctor will resort to shout and threaten to use physical violence.
o “I forbid you to leave the house, did I not? Why shall I pay you? I am looking for you more often than my cows!” (21)
• Self-esteem: distinguished apart form other members of the town
- Putnams feel that they must obey authority at all costs.
- Proctor only takes the initiative when he recognizes injustice in society
eg. Throughout the play, he openly disagrees with Reverend Parris, a choice that ultimately leads to his execution.

• Passive protagonist
• He proceeds to the court with facts to support his claim.
o Abigail’s word that witchcraft had been a pretense
“We were dancin’ in the woods last night, and my uncle leaped in on us. She took fright, is all.” (22)
o Mary Warren’s testimony that she and the other girls had been faking
• Announces that he had an affair with Abigail in the cour
- Publicly denounces his good name
- Get himself condemned for witchcraft
o “How do you call Heaven! Whore! Whore!” (109)
• Does not stop fighting to prove truth in false accusations even after he knows that Elizabeth is pregnant and therefore safe from hanging.
- Finding truth in society is more important than to the society is of greater importance than anything else.
• He is tempted into admitting that he has seen the Devil to save his life but he soon realizes that in doing so, he would become a hypocrite again.
- Decides to preserve his goodness and dies as a martyr .
o “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” (143)
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