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The Crucible - How John Proctors Personality Affects the Plot and Characters of the Crucible

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The Crucible is a classical tragedy in many senses. One of these is its protagonist, John Proctor, who emulates the general qualities of a tragic hero; He is a morally upright and God-fearing man, but his conscience frequently clashes with his pride and his lust for Abigail Williams, his former servant whom he had an affair with.

John Proctor time and time again proves himself to have a very strong conscience. When the topic about his affair with Abigail is brought up in Act II, he shows genuine guilt.

“I may blush for my sin,” Proctor says to Elizabeth, upon being asked by her about his blushing in church whenever she walks by. Judging by Elizabeth’s response to this, “I think she sees another meaning in that blush,” she believes that Proctor is telling the truth just as much as we do based on his behaviour before this passage in the play. From this, I can say that Proctor feels very genuine, very strong guilt over his sins.

Proctor also has deep self-reflections over his faults, sometimes even pulling him into ruts. At the end of Act II, when Proctor finds out that Abigail told Mary Warren about her affair with him, one of the stage directions literally says “hesitating, and with deep hatred of himself,”. This indicates my point as this hesitation indicates a moment of deep thought, as Proctor often does. In this case, he is thinking about the sin he committed with Abigail, and quite literally hating himself for it. This literally makes him a victim of his own conscience throughout the play.

Another example of Proctor’s self-hatred over his affair is present near the end of the play, when Proctor asks Elizabeth for forgiveness of it.

One last example of him literally being a victim is at the end of the play, when his conscience results in him choosing to be hanged rather than dishonour his fellow prisoners and live the rest of his life as a liar damned to go to hell, as this will weigh on him for the rest of his life. The play ends on the tragic note of him being led to the gallows to be hanged, leaving his self-hatred complex burned into the minds of viewers.

One more quality belonging to John Proctor in The Crucible is his pride. Even in Act II when he is well aware that the best shot at stopping Abigail is for him to go into court and confess to their lechery, he only decides to so at the end of the act when his wife is taken away. Even in Act III (30 days later!) when he is in court, he waits till well into the act to confess to lechery. At this point, Abigail has obtained too much influence for the judges to think that she is equally guilty along with Proctor of the crime of lechery, as she is the so-called victim of witchcraft and the only testament to it in the judges eyes.

While it may have played a part in Proctor’s large delay, I don’t think that regular human nervousness/cowardice is what caused it, but Proctor’s pride! He isn’t prideful in the sense that he thinks he is above admitting to lechery as if it weren’t worth the time and consequences for him, but rather he so ashamed of his sins that he would rather keep them inside him as he is used to doing.

Proctor’s pride also affects some of the characters in the play as well. In the case of the women in his life, such as Abigail, Elizabeth, and Mary Warren, this is mainly due to the patriarchal views of Salem. Proctor often threatens to whip Mary Warren, as well as him saying that he should have done the same with Elizabeth when she found out about his affair with Abigail.

But, the character which truly brought out Proctor’s pride is Hale. Proctor takes pride in his faith, and he considers Hale’s views on witchcraft and the validity of its proofs to be wrong, as they are not aligned with his, stating “You are a broken minister.” This provides evidence of Proctor’s pride, as he stays extremely close to his value system throughout the whole play.

This firm pride in his value systems affects his judgement, as he finds the court’s judgements based on the reactions of Abigail and her troop of girls to be fundamentally wrong, thus he is prone to outbursts when he sees something that goes against his beliefs. In the play, these outbursts of honest disagreement give a powerful presence to the otherwise composed Proctor, causing Hale to state his support for Proctor, even at the

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