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Character Analysis Essay: John Proctor

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John Proctor, he is a farmer, a husband, and a father. We think of him as a strong formidable figure. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Proctor is portrayed as a man with a strong belief system. He does not feel that he has to change his way of thinking to impress others or to gain respect. One example of this is his relationship with Reverend Parris. Parris is, in the eyes of John Proctor is not preaching to the community for their sake but to try to elevate his own status. Proctor does not approve of the church or Parris’ interference into government issues. In the beginning, Proctor questions Parris about his decision to call in someone outside of the community in reference to the witchcraft rumors, but then Proctor knows they are false and he is ultimately the reason for this. While Proctor stands up to Parris even admitting to Hale that he doesn’t go to church because he does not approve of the way Parris runs the Church, he is troubled over the fact that he has committed adultery. Committing this act was a sin.

It was this very act that has set the entire events of the witchcraft rumors and trial in motion. This will ruin his reputation if it is discovered. Proctor has always been a man of his word and his reputation is not something that he takes for granted. It would be easier to let the town believe the rumors about witchcraft than to admit how he knows that it isn’t the truth. The affair was with Abbigail Williams and Williams in an act of revenge, started the rumors, and began the dancing, all to get back at Proctor and his wife Elizabeth. Proctor will have to own up to his sins, his actions will have to be made public because admitting to adultery will show how Abbigail is lying and the courts will have to agree to hear another side. This is what Proctor believes and hopes when his wife and other innocent women and people are jailed and facing the gallows.

This backfires, Proctor admitting guilt may have been able to forgive his own sin, but the court will not spare his life. Proctor will not tell anymore lies but in the end the truth will not save him but he will die with a bit of integrity left knowing that he has not wrongfully condemned his fellow neighbors just to get himself freed. He admits his wrongdoing to the court but will not sign his confession and name names just to avoid execution. All this has begun with Proctor. He has been the catalyst that provided the plot for the witch trials, they have just compounded with the greed and narrow-mindedness of the court and society. Katherine, Proctors wife, comes to terms in the end with her husband’s transgressions. She knows that he has died with some dignity remaining.

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