Thursday, September 30, 2010

John Proctor- Hero or Stooge?

     Throughout Arthur Miller's The Crucible, John Proctor's actions are all influenced by his desire to protect his  honor. Proctor's clandestine affair with the young housemaid, Abigail, prevents him from testifying against his lover. If he would have revealed their inappropriate rapport, then her accusations against a plethora of the Salem townsfolk wouldn't have been as credible. However, John wished for his name and his status to remain unsullied within Salem. Yet at Mary Warren's hearing, he divulged that he now "knew her" in an attempt to expose Abigail's lies but he only dug himself into a deeper grave when Proctor's wife, Elizabeth, did not corroborate his story. He was incarcerated on an account of lechery and later on witchcraft.
     In the final Act, John is asked to sign a confession admitting to involvement with sorcery and he is also interrogated concerning the identities of other witches. During his examination, he resolutely mentions no names to add to the multitude of convicted Salem citizens, saying that he can only tell of his own sins. Then Proctor is asked to sign a confessional. He hesitantly agrees to the testimony but soon renounces, it earning him a noose on the gallows among seven other condemned "witches." John Proctor imagines how his signature will be etched into this document and destroys it because he would be ashamed to be remembered for abandoning his beliefs. By doing this, Proctor is redeemed from his stooge-like demeanor at the opening of The Crucible and transforms into a hero who stood for his companions while maintaining his ideals and honor.        

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