English - John Proctor
Upon his entrance in _The Crucible_ John Proctor appears to be calm,
rational and honest. His stature alone demands respect and his presence has
a calming effect on those in the room. Miller's commentary claims that in
his presence "A FOOL FELT HIS FOOLISHNESS INSTANTLY" and this is clearly
evident in Act One. Mary Warren immediately feels chastised and quickly
obeys Proctor's orders. Abigail is angered by his strong rejection of her
and Parris' weaknesses quickly come to light. Although Proctor appears
intelligent and confident, a man to be admired and respected, the
commentary reveals the truth behind his exterior.
Proctor is a man riddled with guilt for his sins. Miller describes him as
"A SINNER NOT ONLY AGAINST THE MORAL FASHION OF THE TIME, BUT AGAINST HIS
OWN VISION OF DECENT CONDUCT". Proctor's flaw was his lust and, having
given into his lust with Abigail, has lived to regret it. It is Proctor's
self torment that the audience empathises with. He appears human because of
his grave mistake and we respect his anger at himself for having made it.
The scene with Abigail in this act exemplifies the internal struggle he
faces, but his strength in turning her down and moving on proves him to be
a good man. This struggle is to be developed throughout the rest of the
Proctor proves himself to be a man who is not afraid to stand alone and
voice his opinions. He is direct in stating his opinion about Parris, "I
MAY SPEAK MY HEART, I THINK!" and has little tolerance of the way Parris
conducts his business. He is horrified at developing hysteria and angered
that Parris seems to be encouraging it "I'VE HEARD YOU TO BE A SENSIBLE
MAN, MR. HALE. I HOPE YOU'LL LEAVE SOME OF IT IN SALEM". Despite all of
this, Proctor still believes himself to be a fraud and the audience will
follow him as he seeks forgiveness and to restore his faith in himself.
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