Crucible: The Crucible and Proctor Essay

Submitted By NOTNICE11
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The Crucible by Arthur Miller is a classical tragedy, with John Proctor as the play’s protagonist. Honest, upright, and blunt-spoken, Proctor is a good man, but one with a secret, fatal flaw. His lust for Abigail Williams led to their affair. This created Abigail’s jealousy of his wife, Elizabeth, which sets the entire witch frenzy in motion. Once the trials begin, Proctor realizes that he can stop Abigail’s rampage through Salem but only if he confesses to his adultery. Such an admission would ruin his good name. He eventually makes an attempt, through Mary Warren’s testimony, to name Abigail as a fraud without revealing crucial information. When this attempt fails, he finally bursts out with a confession, calling Abigail a “whore” and proclaiming his guilt publicly. Only then does he realize that it is too late, that matters have gone too far, and that not even the truth can break the powerful frenzy that he has allowed Abigail to whip up. Proctor’s confession succeeds only in leading to his arrest and conviction as a witch. What is the “Shred of goodness,” that Proctor discovers. At this point in the play Proctor is really conflicted. He was indecisive whether or not to confess and consults with his wife on what he should do. Proctor asks Elizabeth “I have been thinking I would confess to them, Elizabeth what say you,” (Miller, 236).He explains to Elizabeth that he holds out because he wants his persecutors to feel the weight of guilt for seeing him hanged when they know he is innocent. Elizabeth responds to John, “Whatever you will do, it is a good man that does it” (Miller, 236). After wrestling with his conscience for a long time, Proctor agrees to confess. Proctor tells Hathorne, “I will have my life” (Miller, 237). Proctor agrees to confess because for the first time in a long time, John and Elizabeth are being honest with each other. John realizes that by living, he will have an opportunity to start over in his marriage and to raise his children. Elizabeth admits to John that not only does she forgive him for his affair, but she also admits that it is partially her fault. Both John and Elizabeth have much to live for and look forward to it in the future. They know what's important, and this makes John want to live. Proctor begins to change his mind about confessing when he sees the shame that Rebecca Nurse has when she finds out Proctor has "sold out." Rebecca asks Proctor, “Why, John,” (Miller, 237). Later she states, “Oh, John. God send His mercy on you,” (Miller, 237). John recognizes that even though he might want to live or he might have the feeling of guilt and shame, he is not going to be held captive by these feelings. Danforth demands that he physically sign, permanently linking his name to it, he realizes what is going on. Great tension builds up between Proctor and Danforth. They argue about Proctor physically signing the confession. Proctor in response to Danforth yells, “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another