The Crucible and John Proctor

Topics: The Crucible, Salem witch trials, Elizabeth Proctor Pages: 3 (997 words) Published: January 14, 2011
The Crucible, a play written by Arthur Miller in the 1950s about the witchcraft hysteria in the late 17th century, is an allusion to the widespread communist hysteria of his time. Arthur Miller artfully shapes the characters of the story to have a lasting effect on the reader, and one of the most prominent and important characters in The Crucible is John Proctor. John Proctor is a simple yet troubled farmer who plays one of the most pivotal roles in the story. John Proctor is a father of three sons and the husband of Elizabeth Proctor, and has had an immodest relationship with Abigail Williams, who is mostly responsible for the witchcraft hysteria in Salem, Massachusetts.

John Proctor is a very interesting character mainly because of his many moral dilemmas regarding the sins he is contemplating and the sins he has already committed. Living in a Puritan society, where everyone is expected to be of upright moral character and an absolutely god-fearing and pious individual, he knows his affair with Abigail will not go well with society, so he keeps it secret, although his wife is aware of it. He still has a hidden affection for Abigail, he knows that this will be detrimental for him, so he tries to suppress it and please his wife to gain her favor again. His efforts are ignored however, putting him under more moral stress, both from his suppressed longing for Abigail, and his wife's disregard for his efforts to please her.

When the time comes that the village is in a state of confusion and fear, his wife tells him to go and tell the court the truth about Abigail's trickery. Now he is faced with a predicament, he wishes to expose Abigail for her true self, as he knows that she would want to get rid of his wife, Elizabeth, so she could take her place and marry him. On the other hand, he also has a latent desire for Abigail in his heart, and therefore is reluctant in taking action against her. All of this changes when Abigail accuses his wife of witchery, which...

Cited: Prentice Hall Literature, Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes, The American Experience. USA: Prentice Hall, 2000 p. 1089-1167
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