• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the role of John Proctor in 'The Crucible'. Why does he choose to die at the end of the play?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Discuss the role of John Proctor in 'The Crucible'. Why does he choose to die at the end of the play? John Proctor is the protagonist of the play 'The Crucible', written by Arthur Miller. This is because Miller uses Proctor as a character to help the audience understand the characters' experience. He does this by either making sympathetic expressions or the actions that Proctor makes, whether they are violent or confusing. Miller makes us feel sympathetic for Proctor when Proctor's wife, Elizabeth gets taken away to court for being accused of doing 'the devil's work'. Proctor knows she is innocent but nobody will believe him. In Act I, John Proctor's role is to introduce himself and show his character: 'Be you deaf? I forbid you leave the house did I not?' (Proctor, Act I) This comment suggests he likes to be powerful and in control, in this case, by being forceful. He feels 'strong about hypocricy, but is even-tempered. Miller tells us that 'in the presence of Proctor a fool felt his foolishness instantly'. He also tells us that proctor 'is a sinner against his own vision of decent conduct', of which he is talking about the affair with Abigail Williams. This is dramatic irony as, only three characters (including Proctor) are aware of this. When we first meet Proctor he is with Abigail, Mary and Mercy Lewis. ...read more.

Middle

This is symbolic as he is trying to forget the affair, because he feels so guilty. This builds more tension: 'What keeps you so late? It's almost dark.' (Elizabeth, Act II) This comment of Elizabeth's shows she is anxious and suspicious of his whereabouts. He replies that he was 'planting far out the forest edge'. Then goes on to say: 'Pray now for a fair summer.' (Proctor, Act II) He is trying to please his wife, still feeling guilt. He says with a grin: 'I mean to please you, Elizabeth.' (Proctor, Act II) Elizabeth replies, although hard to say, which suggests denial or disbelief: 'I know it, John.' (Elizabeth, Act II) Proctor and Elizabeth fear each other, and this illustrates the feature of the play-fear. Their short sentences and being silent suggests this, and also brings tension upon their marriage, and the audience. Act II is mostly to do with John Proctor, the visiting of Hale to which he is questioned about his religious efforts, his arguments with his wife, his suspicions of the witchcraft in Salem and Abigail, and the arrest of his wife. He grabs the search warrant off Cheever: 'Proctor, you dare not touch the warrant.' (Cheever, Act II) 'Ripping the warrant.' (Stage directions, Act II) This is Proctor's angry side. He knows what Abigail is up to, yet no one will believe him. ...read more.

Conclusion

The short, quick sentences that they exchange give us a sense of tension: 'You are a - marvel, Elizabeth.' (Proctor, Act IV) 'You - have been tortured?' (Elizabeth, Act IV) As she asks Proctor this it proves that she wants to forgive him, and that she wants to love him again. He decides to confess about witchery, for Elizabeth's sake. Once the confession has been written down he grabs it, saying: You have all witnessed it - it is enough.' (Proctor, Act IV) He refuses to sign his confession. He doesn't want to blacken his name anymore: 'God knows how black my sins are! It is enough!' (Proctor, Act IV) If he doesn't give it back, or sign the confession, he will be hanged, he will be killed. Instead he rips it like, just like he did the warrant/ He decides to die. The atmosphere turns tragic and goes still. The audience's reaction is also tragic, but also understandable - after all, that was the role of John Proctor. He chooses to die because he would blacken his name, and his children's name - Proctor. He realises he has ruined his reputation from the affair, and that the courts in Salem were finished. He couldn't lie anymore. He chose his own death rather than betrayal of his conscience. This shows us that he too has come through the fire to be purified, just like the pure elements extracted from the metals in a crucible. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Arthur Miller essays

  1. Do you consider John Proctor to be a modern tragic hero?

    Proctor knows that his children will never live past the shadow that their father was a sorcerer and they would be forever shamed. In the end Proctor accepts his death with dignity because he knows that he would have died honestly, which he feels in the eyes of God would be better than living a lie.

  2. To what extent can John Proctor be described as a tragic hero in Arthur ...

    In the Greek tradition this was an essential characteristic for the protagonist to possess. However, Miller does not see his tragedy as one that should include pity for the protagonist. "The possibility of victory must be there in tragedy. Where pathos rules, where pathos is finally derived, a character has

  1. The crucible, God in heaven what is John Proctor?

    Proctor is very aware that what he did was so wrong so he says, "Let you look sometime for the goodness in me, and judge me not." He is clearly consumed by guilt and needs her forgiveness so he can forgive himself.

  2. Crucible confession

    The audience can now see that he is trying to regain his dignity and pride. The audience can also see, by the end of Act 1, that Proctor is the main individual that may become a hero throughout the play.

  1. Essay - Analyse of John Proctor from Crucible

    (Hale, Act Two) 'I like it not that Mr. Parris should lay his hand upon my baby. I see no light of God in that man. I'll not conceal it.' (Proctor, Act Two) John Proctor became a very guilty man with a troubled conscience, because of his affair with his servant Abigail.

  2. Character Analysis John Proctor In a sense, the play, 'The Crucible', has the structure ...

    Proctor A fire, a fire is burning! I hear the boot of Lucifer, I see his filthy face! And it is my face, and yours, Danforth! For them that quail to bring men out of ignorance, as I have quailed, and as you quail now when you know in all

  1. How does John Proctor change during the course of the play? How might this ...

    Hale" This concludes how John is respectful to his fellow villagers. He is well respected in the community and this may be why. In Act 2 we see the relationship between him and his wife, Elizabeth. The relationship in their marriage seems to be quite distant as john arrives late home.

  2. John Proctor is the tragic hero of "The Crucible". Discuss

    He is physically, but not mentally strong? (White, Sydney).Proctors two flaws played hand in hand. He was guilty of adultery, but was too proud to confess his sin. He hesitated to expose Abigail to the courts until it was too late.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work