AP English and Literature, Period 7
8 October 2014
Death Redeems Redemption is defined as atoning for a fault or mistake. Therefore, the idea of a redemptive character emanates from that character committing a perceived wrong and then overcoming the subsequent consequences with his actions. The Crucible, a famous play by Arthur Miller, incorporates this idea of redemption into its plot through the personal journeys of major characters in the Salem Witch Trials. One such character that displays these qualities of redemption is John Proctor. In the beginning of the play Proctor presents himself as a man full of honor and integrity with a loathing towards hypocrisy. Eventually though, his adultery is revealed and he is knocked off his obsequious pedestal, but he does reclaim some semblance of his former character at the end. Though John Proctor experiences a downfall, he redeems himself completely through his death. First off, one of Proctor’s main negative attributes that contributes to his downfall is his excessive pridefulness. Throughout the town of Salem, Proctor is known for his hatred of hypocrites and he believes himself to be above these people. This belief leads him to the lure of power and control of other people’s actions. Proctor believes that he can control Abigail Williams, the girl he committed adultery with, and she cannot hurt him through her words or actions. He evidently feels the need to control Abigail so that his adultery will not become public knowledge and his reputation will remain intact. Proctor instructs Abigail that she must “put [the affair] out of mind” and never speak to him of it again (Miller 21). Proctor repeatedly speaks to Abigail in such a firm tone as though he is her father and she will obey him unconditionally. This is significant because eventually Proctor will realize that he cannot truly contain Abigail’s mouth or her actions and she brings about the beginning of his downfall. John Proctor’s pride
Cited: Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. New York: Bantam Books, Inc., 1966. Print. Schissel, Wendy "Re(dis)covering the Witches in Arthur Miller 's The Crucible: A Feminist Reading."