Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible shows the protagonist, John Proctor, tragic downward spiral as he unearths the error of his way. Proctor is used as a vehicle for Milers social criticism against the House of Un-American Activities Committee. It was led by Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1953. This was a time when anyone with left wing views was prosecuted with insignificant evidence, an identical affair to the Salem Witch Trials around 300 years earlier. John Proctor begins in Act One as an egotistical man, more concerned about his own reputation than the lives of others around him. Nevertheless, by the end, his moral epiphany shows him in a new light which thus compel the audience to forgive him for all his imperfections. Proctors transformation in character and his journey to redemption in the audience’s eyes is what this essay will discus.
In Act One, Proctor is a character that the audience immediately loathes and despises due to his arrogant way; self obsessed nature and hypocritical manner towards others. “Put it out of mind Abby, we never touched” is a perfect archetype of Proctors hypocritical manner. He is denying the affair between them ever happened to make sure his name stays unsoiled in the town. Reputation is a crucial aspect of the Salemites lives and most of Proctors decisions have taken into account what would happen to his reputation. This quote also portrays him in a domineering way with an air of superiority over Abby as he is telling her what to do and refusing to let her think otherwise. The word put is an excellent choice of word as it is an imperative verb, supporting the suggestion of Proctor being controlling.
The way he talks with Abby during the Act is interesting yet hypocritical. “(A knowing smile on his face)” as Abby and him converse demonstrates that he thinks somewhat highly of himself as he continues to flirt in spite of telling Abby to overlook their affair, therefore contradicts himself showing he cannot entirely make up his mind on his feelings for Abby.
Although, being very hypocritical as well as arrogant towards Abby he appears to speak to the others in the room in a patronising manner, another example that he believes himself to be more significant than them. He is particularly patronising the Mary Warren. “Be you foolish Mary Warren? Be you deaf?” shows that Proctor thinks of Mary as a child whom he speaks down to. He sees himself as being the most important voice in the room, which we can tell as he addresses her by her full name; unlike when he talks to Abby he uses a shortened, informal version of her name.
He sees himself as the voice of reason and authority amidst a sea of chaos. “I’ve heard you to be a sensible man Mr Hale, I hope you’ll leave some of it in Salem” is intensely patronising. Proctor has realised, much as Miller did, that everyone has gone panic-stricken to which Proctor has brought it on himself to be the sane one, the voice of reason that has a clear head throughout and is...