The way in which the protagonist, John Proctor, is presented in The Crucible somewhat changes throughout the play. Firstly, he is presented as quite dominant and violent, however as the story progresses, he is presented still as a violent character but a much more likeable one. He is also one to go with his first instincts, and has a lot of pride. These two characteristics are the main factors that lead to Proctors downfall.
The first scene in which Proctor is introduced is set in Reverend Parris’ house. Upon entering, the first line he speaks in the play is “Be you foolish, Mary Warren? Be you deaf? I forbid you to leave the house, did I not?” Mary clearly feels intimidated by Proctor, as even before he speaks she “leaps with fright”. This suggests that Proctor is an important man in Salem society and that he has a good reputation. On the other hand, when he says “I am looking for you more often than my cows!” the audience starts to see that Proctor is a rather humorous and charismatic person. As the play progresses however, Proctor becomes less like this and more miserable. This therefore creates a large impact on the audience as they see him quickly change from the way he was at the beginning of the play.
The next part of this scene sees Proctor speaking to the antagonist of the play, Abigail Williams. The scene introduces Proctor's main Hamartia, which is that he cheated on his wife Elizabeth with Abigail. Lots of animal imagery is used in this scene, for example, Abigail uses the phrase “sweated like a stallion” and Proctor refers to what Abigail said about him as “a wild thing to say”. This symbolises the fact that Proctor acts on his first impulses is an animalistic manner, the way he acted solely upon his lust for Abigail without giving it any proper thought. As the scene progresses, the affair that Proctor had with Abigail is slowly implied to the audience through the flirtatious dialogue which the two share, and through lines such as “you know me...
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