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"God in heaven, what is John Proctor? The Crucible by Arthur Miller.

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Introduction

"God in heaven, what is John Proctor? With close reference to the play how would you answer Proctor's question? John Proctor is a main character in the play "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller. It is about the mass hysteria that led to the 1692 Salem witchcraft trials. At the same time that Miller wrote the play, it is also clearly a parable for the events of the McCarthy era in the USA of the 1950s, when anyone suspected of left wing views was arraigned for 'Un-American Activities' due to the thought that they had taken part in anti-capitalism. The accusations became hysterical and many people were asked to 'name names' of people in meetings held many years previously. Miller himself was brought before the committee led by Joseph McCarthy. Miller saw the public confessions required by the committee as parallels with the naming of names at Salem in 1692. John Proctor is a down-to-earth hard-working farmer who doesn't allow himself to be caught up in the hysteria of the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692. He thinks for himself and stands up for his values against all odds. In the village most if not all were Puritans. ...read more.

Middle

Abigail testifies 'It were sport, uncle !' and 'There is nothin' more. I swear it uncle.' When Abigail was 'naming names' in the village in fear of her own, the court had great reason to believe her as she was seen as 'white' in the village. Her uncle, Reverend Parris asks 'Your name in the town - is it entirely white, is it not?' Abigail replies 'Why, I am sure it is, sir. There be no blush about my name.' No matter how hard he tries he always fails with Elizabeth in the emotional scene. 'I'll not have your suspicion any more.' Elizabeth then replies with 'Then let you earn it.' Also, he still isn't entirely truthful to Elizabeth as he demonstrates at the start of act two. 'Then he lifts out the ladle and tastes. He is not quite pleased. He reaches to a cupboard, takes a pinch of salt, and drops it into the pot.' He then comments 'It is well seasoned,' even though he had just added the salt himself. There always seems to be tension between John Proctor and Elizabeth; probably due to his affair with Abigail. Abigail accuses Elizabeth of witchcraft after she supposedly used a poppet to harm Abigail. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is a complex character who is respected in his town. Proctor shows this when he signs his confession and Parris says, 'It is a weighty name; it will strike the village that Proctor confess.' He would lose that respect of the people in Salem, which would be very important to him and obviously preferred death to it. In response to Hale's exclamation he retorted, "I can. And there's your first marvel, that I can. You have made your magic now, for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs." In my view, to conclude this, John Proctor is a very good man who certainly isn't afraid to speak for what he believes in, even if it means losing his life. If I was him I certainly wouldn't have chosen to die but I respect him for that decision. In this play, it shows that he effectively had been through a crucible, not for purifying metals, but for purifying people; from the adulterer to the good man that hung with Martha Corey and Rebecca Nurse. By Andrew Gallacher 10cl ...read more.

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