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How much sympathy does the character, John Proctor arouse in an audience and do we remain on his side when he decides to hang rather than confess?

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Introduction

How much sympathy does the character, John Proctor arouse in an audience and do we remain on his side when he decides to hang rather than confess? Although there is enough evidence proving the fact that John Proctor is entirely responsible for his marital difficulties and his own downfall, the playwright, Arthur Miller, makes it hard for the audience not to sympathise with Proctor, when he decides to hang rather than sign his name to his confession. The audience first meets John Proctor in Act One, where he is portrayed as a powerful man. 'I forbid you leave this house, did I not. Now get you home!' This mood changes when Mary Warren leaves and he is left alone with Abigail. She flirts with him, 'Gah! I'd almost forgot how strong you are, John Proctor!' His response is evident to the audience through Arthur Miller's use of stage directions, 'looking at Abigail now, the faintest suggestion of a knowing smile on his face.' He now completely changes the subject, 'What's mischief here?' Although John Proctor has ended their affair, he cannot restrain from teasing her and saying things, which she may see as a 'come-on', being the impressionable teenage girl that she is, 'ah, you're wicked yet, aren't y'!' ...read more.

Middle

He enters the house and notices a pot in the fireplace. He smells it and 'is not quite pleased.' He then drops a pinch of salt into it, tastes it again. The one pinch of salt would not have made the slightest of difference, but he still wants to be the head of the house, despite his affair with Abigail, which would have destroyed their family. This proves John is still the dominant member of the family. When he hears her footsteps on the stairs he swings the pot back into the fireplace. They then have a strained conversation, which mainly involves John asking her questions and Elizabeth replying in short or one-word answers, 'Are you well today?' 'I am.' She brings the stew to him and as he tastes it he says, 'It's well seasoned.' Later on he says to Elizabeth, 'Let you look sometimes for the goodness in me, and judge me not.' She replies, 'I do not judge you. The magistrate sits in your heart that judges you.' This means that she cannot forgive him until he has forgiven himself. She then says he is bewildered, and he responds whilst 'laughing bitterly', 'Oh, Elizabeth, your justice would freeze beer.' ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows that he deserves the sympathy from his emotional outbursts John then tears up his confession 'weeping in fury.' This is the noblest thing John has done in the play. Hale says to John, 'Man, you will hang! You cannot!' with desperation, but John replies 'his eyes full of tears', 'I can. And there's your first marvel, that I can.' Even he is surprised by his actions that later cost him his life. John is finally forgiving himself and making amends, and not even Elizabeth can change his mind. Hale pleads to her to stop her, 'Go to him, take his shame away,' but she replies, 'he have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him.' Although she loves John and doesn't want him to die, she is allowing him his penance, to make up for the wrongs he has done and the hurt he has caused. During Act One, John deserves no sympathy whatsoever, but by Act Four, he does everything in his ability to bring justice to the court, and to save the life of Elizabeth, even when it means making his affair with Abigail known to the village. Despite all the hurt and sin John caused, he makes amends by standing with those who refuse to confess, and hangs with dignity and pride. Laura Unite 10G 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller ...read more.

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