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Is John Proctor a hero in his stand against evil in his society or do you see him as foolish when he might have easily saved his life? Why does he make his individual sacrifice?

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Introduction

Is John Proctor a hero in his stand against evil in his society or do you see him as foolish when he might have easily saved his life? Why does he make his individual sacrifice? Arthur Miller was born on the 17th of October 1915, in New York. He grew up in Harlem. He was a playwright from the 1930's onwards. His first big success was the play All My Sons. In 1953 Miller wrote his most politically significant work, The Crucible. It was based on the 1692 Salem witchcraft trials. We can find certain parallels between the story of the trials and the communists 'witch hunts' of the 1950's. After World War 2, to super powers find themselves facing each other, the USA and the USSR. Slowly, the USSR grew more threatening and powerful. There was an all-out arms race going on. There was a growing fear in America, that communism would take over the American way of life. This was The Cold War. In this climate of fear, a United States Senator, Joseph McCarthy, alleged that government departments were being infiltrated by communists and he waged a campaign against them. In 1956, Miller found that he was accused of being a communist and was persecuted, and in 1957, he was convicted of contempt of the congress for not giving names of suspected communists in America. All this happened in Millers life just after he had written The Crucible; in fact, it was part of the reason why he was accused. ...read more.

Middle

He comes to inform the Proctors that Elizabeth has been accused, and Proctor tells Hale that Mary has already told them. Then, Hale starts asking them some question about the Christian character of their house. He asks why Proctor rarely comes to church. Proctor replies truthfully and tells Hale that he does not like Parris. Then he asks why only two out of three of his children are baptised. Again Proctor replies truthfully with the same answer. Then, Hale asks Elizabeth if she knows her commandments. Elizabeth eagerly tells Hale that she does. Next he asks Proctor, he is asked to repeat them. Proctor is a bit nervous and starts off to a shaky start. He says all of them but forgets the commandment of adultery. This is dramatic irony because he forgot them very one that he disobeyed and he says it in the presence of Hale. Elizabeth tells Proctor the one he forgot, and he feels the shame in is heart. Proctor (as though a secret arrow has pained his heart): Aye. Hale leaves it at this and begins to leave, when Proctor, decides to tell Hale the truth about the goings on in Salem. Hale is perplexed at this new evidence and asks Proctor if he would testify to this in court. Hale is astonished to find out that the dancing in the woods had nothing to do with witchcraft and that Abigail is a fraud. Proctor finally makes up his mind and decides to go to the court and tell the court the truth. ...read more.

Conclusion

The main one being that he could have signed the confession and get it over with. But as I said, he did not want to sign his name away, or be freed, only to be hated by his neighbours. He could have, and did in the end, taken the stand against the evil in the village and use himself as an example to others. Also he could have shown that the deaths in Salem only happened for the selfish desires of people like Danforth and the Putnams. Last of all, he could have got himself hanged to get revenge on Abigail. If she loved Proctor, then she would be in deep sorry if Proctor was killed. But this is one of the more strange reasons. Personally, I think that he could have saved his life by signing the paper and confessing. If he loved his family as much as he says he does, then he should have done it just so he could be with his family again. Then again, there are some disadvantages to this. Firstly his neighbours won't like him because he was once accused of being a witch. People will point the finger at him and his family for not saving their friends lives. But for them, that is not much of a problem seeing as their house is outside of Salem. All in all, Proctor could have saved his life but didn't only because of his pride and vanity. He never wanted to be thought unpleasantly of in the village, and for his own selfish reason, got himself hung, and I believe that he was wrong to do so. ...read more.

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