John Proctor - the Crucible

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John Proctor - the Crucible

By | April 2013
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John Proctor
Ultimately, John Proctor is a key part of the Crucible. His refusal to open up about Abigail’s lying (which she admits in Betty’s bedroom) allows Abigail to whip the village of Salem into a frenzy – accusing anyone and everyone of witchcraft. He is a proud and powerful man, much respected in the village. The fact he committed adultery with Abigail means she has the power to control him. Adultery is against the laws of Salem’s theocracy (as it is against the Decalogue) so, if Abigail told the village of their affair, his reputation would be destroyed which would result in him being sent to the gallows. Although his hot-headed temper and one fatal mistake makes him seem the antihero, it also provides him with the great burning passion needed to break open the truth that Abigail divulged to him: the girls were faking sickness and witchcraft is a lie. This would save those accused of witchcraft (such as Rebecca Nurse who was accused by Mrs. Putnam) – making him the protagonist. He knows that Abigail’s intention is to win him back, even if it means killing Elizabeth. Abigail’s treachery can be discovered from the first chapter where Parris asks Abigail to confess about any misconduct that may have caused her sacking by John Proctors wife. Immediately, she refers to her as ‘a gossiping liar’, ‘bitter’ and ‘a cold snivelling woman’. The use of ‘woman’ amplifies how degrading her opinion of Elizabeth Proctor is. Her immediate offense is defensive and exposes her jealousy of Elizabeth which is confirmed when she openly discusses her lust with John: ‘I am waiting for you every night’. Thus, John Proctor is entangled with Abigail. The issue of which, is that she successfully manipulates others with an innocent pretence (for example, when she tells Parris she had nothing to do with witchcraft: ‘Not I sir’). When John talks with Elizabeth, he demonstrates how much he wants to fix his relationship with Elizabeth ‘I mean to please you Elizabeth’ ‘I have gone on...

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