The Tragic Death Of John Proctor In Miller's The Crucible

1278 words - 5 pages

Salem is a Puritan town and when some girls were caught dancing in the forest by the town minister, two of the girls fall into a coma- like state and it isn’t long before rumors of witchcraft fill the town. The Crucible is a play written by Arthur Miller that is a dramatization of the Salem witch trials, which took place in Salem, Massachusetts. One of the girls caught dancing was Abigail Williams. Not wanting to get into trouble, Abigail blames Tituba, a black slave, for enticing her to sin. Tituba confesses to seeing the Devil and also tells the court that she saw people with the Devil. Abigail and the other girls join in and start accusing people in the town of witchcraft. If one is accused of witchcraft and denies it, they are hung, but if that person confesses, they are free to go after they tell the court the names of other people they saw with the Devil. One of the characters in this play is a man named John Proctor. He is a farmer who lives just outside of Salem. Soon we learn that he and Abigail had had an affair while Elizabeth Proctor, John’s wife, was sickly. When Abigail accuses John’s wife of witchcraft, John goes into the court and tries to save her, but soon the tables turn on him and he is accused of witchcraft. John Proctor changes greatly throughout the play, and in the end he finds goodness in himself, in light of this goodness his death is tragic.

John Proctor transformed from a deceitful man and husband, to one who was true to himself as well as his beliefs. At the beginning of the play Proctor willingly cheats on his wife with a young girl of 18. He also is very passive and does whatever he can to avoid becoming involved with the witch trials. When Hale is searching for a motive for why the girls might be lying about witchcraft, and Proctor doesn't mention his affair with Abigail, which may discredit her accusations, this shows that Proctor is concerned about his own well-being. He goes from being unsympathetic and having an affair without caring about the consequences, to dying for the greater good, which makes up for his past sins. He starts to realize that his wife is the most important thing to him and he starts telling Abigail that she needs to leave him alone and that he doesn't love her. There’s an example of this in this quote. “ABIGAIL: Give me a word, John. A soft word. (Her concentrated desire destroys his smile)
PROCTOR: No, no, Abby. That's done with.”
(Page 180) After this Proctor starts to transform even more. He goes from trying to stay out of the witch trials to risking his name to save his wife and other people accused of witchcraft. In this quote he admits to having an affair with Abigail to save his wife. “She thinks to dance with me on my wife's grave! And well she might, for I thought of her softly. God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat. But it is a whore's vengeance, and you must see it now.” (Page 384) In this quote Proctor admits to being with Abigail in an attempt to...

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