The Conflicting Character of John Proctor in The Crucible

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

The once-quiet puritanical town, takes a turn when people are forced to confess to their wrong doings to stop the chaos. In the play, John Proctor commits adultery, by refusing to lie and confess to witchcraft he is hung. Abigail a manipulative and selfish girl, wreaks havoc among the people, doing her best to win over John Proctor by stabbing herself to frame other people and blaming people for her sins. John Proctor deals with internal and external conflict in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, as he exhibits virtues of strong willingness and directness throughout the play.

In the play, John Proctor faces internal conflict because of the decisions he made. “John – I’m waiting for you every night”. (Miller, 23) This reveals that John Proctor and his housekeeper, Abigail are having an affair. John Proctor thinks that telling the truth about this affair will end the chaos that Abigail is causing, but it will also ruin his perfect reputation. He faces this internal conflict with himself by having to make the decision whether to stay true to his puritan morals, or lie and commit another sin. During the play, Elizabeth Proctor discovers this affair and dismisses Abigail from her house ever again. John Proctor has to deal with the guilt of hiding the secret from the puritan people and cheating on his wife. As he confesses to his sins, he is hung by the people for violating his religion. This was impactful because he was direct and became an honest man. John changed throughout the play because he became truthful and more of his puritan beliefs.

John Proctor faced many external conflicts, before and after his confession. His primary conflict was between Abigail. John Proctor decided to renounce his and Abigail’s affair, but she didn’t agree with him. This conflict began when Abigail refuses to accept the conclusion to their affair. In the play, Abigail criticizes John’s wife In scene two by calling her a “cold, lying, sniveling woman”, and blaming her for being fired. Abigail also stabs herself, in an attempt to make the people of the society believe Elizabeth was responsible. She shows her unleashing manipulative ways to be with John Proctor. John has to deal with Abigail’s lies and damaging words during the play, until he decides to confess and die to resolve Abigail’s disruption to their society. His sacrifice for the people cause him to regain his purtianess and the people have less chaos dealing with Abigail.

John Proctor was the ultimate sacrifice, saving himself and the people among him. He faced external and internal conflict throughout the play, changing his mindset. During The Crucible, John Proctor shows his strong willingness and fight for his beliefs, when he died because he confessed to committing adultery. This is important because it reveals the theme of reputation and power. The people of the puritan law believed you had to live a perfect life to be loved by God, although most of the people sinned they lied to keep their reputation. This theme can be shown by John Proctor being indecisive on whether or not to tell the truth about what happened and be honest or keep the lie to protect his reputation. Arthur Miller uses John Proctor to show that many people are worried about what other people will think of them instead of being honest and staying true to themselves. John Proctor made bad choices and displayed poor characteristics, but in the end he conveyed a heroic act by staying true to his faith.


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