Proctor's Contribution to the Effectiveness of Arthur Miller's The
The name 'John Proctor' resembles a man of utmost character and
dominance. From when he first enters the scene of the play, he
instantly makes a huge impact on the atmosphere on stage before he
even mutters a word. No matter where you are in the Salem, there is no
way you can ignore or disregard his presence. John Proctor is the
heart of this play and is the key contributor to the striking
effectiveness of Arthur Miller's dark and mysterious drama.
Due to his extreme authority and command on the stage, Proctor always
seems to be at the centre of conflict within the play. Whenever he
appears, he is always liable to create a sense of insecurity. He is
the source of tensional conflict and because of this, he has a very
distinct effect on the characters that surround him. Proctor's
attendance is always made incredibly obvious and this alone gives
people difficulty feeling comfortable when he is around.
One of the best examples of this is expressed when he first enters the
play, giving Mary Warren quite a serious fright:
"Enter John Proctor. On seeing him, Mary Warren leaps in fright."(p16)
As said before, he has not even muttered or said a word. His
reputation and personal conveyance is enough to disturb others.
"Be you foolish Mary Warren? Be you deaf? I forbid you to leave the
house, did I not? Why shall I pay you? I am looking for you more often
than my cows!" (p16)
"I'll show you a great doin' on your arse one of these days. Now get
you home, my wife is waitin' with your work!" (p16)
These quotes emphasise that this man's bite is just as bad as his
bark. Not only does Proctor have a strong and powerful appearance, his
speech also expresses his rash and rough personality. Once again - his
image is enough to shatter the confidence of others surrounding him.
It's as if he is surrounded by an impenetrable aura that has the power
to demolish and destroy anyone who opposes him.
Aside from his appearance and antagonistic ways of speaking, Proctor
also bears an iconoclastic figure throughout the play. He is one of
the few people in this story who has the courage to stand up against
authority. This is probably another reason why he is the source of a
large proportion of the play's conflict.
"I may speak my heart. I think!" (p24)
People who stand high upon the social hierarchy (such as Parris) are
easily irritated by the idea of someone opposing them; thus instantly
creating a rivalry between the two figures. The fact that Parris is
just as proud a man as Proctor creates even more tension between them.
Normally a character as powerful and threatening as Parris would have
no match when it came to an argument, a person would normally whimper
and surrender in fear. For Parris to find a...