4 October 2013
John Proctor’s Decision
The night Rebecca Nurse, Elizabeth Proctor, and Martha Corey were arrested Reverend Hale said, “Until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in Heaven.” Hale explains that even the most moral people can be turned evil. The Crucible, by Arthur Miller is about a group of people in the town Salem who accuse others as witches. It started with jealousy, and anger towards other townspeople that led to the end of many lives. A local farmer, in most cases people thought of as a rebel, John Proctor, proved to be a hero. John wasn’t by all means a saint, he made mistakes too but his reasoning showed people you should stand up for what you believe in. John Proctor struggles with internal guilt over the adultery he has committed, and makes the decision to either die for his name or to live for a lie.
John struggled with adultery, and the guilt it brought him. Externally he struggled with keeping Abigail away when he still had soft feelings for her from time to time. In Act one, John and Abigail argue about whether they still have a relationship going on or not. John is hesitant, telling Abigail that all is over between them, and that now he would rather cut off his own hand than touch her. Angry Abigail tries to change his mind, but this isn’t working. John knows he made a mistake, and now he cherishes his wife Elizabeth much more, realizing that she is whom he loves. This helps to explain John’s internal conflict with himself trying to forget everything that happened between him and Abigail. Later on in Act two, John and Elizabeth argue about John’s past relations with Abigail. They discuss how Elizabeth shouldn’t be suspicious anymore, and how he loves her. Elizabeth explains she has forgiven him, but he can’t accept that until he has forgiven himself for committing adultery. John’s external conflict with his wife, and himself explains that he knows he has committed adultery. Elizabeth tells John, he won’t feel any better if he can’t learn to forgive himself.
John’s guilt leads him to confessing his adultery in court. In Act Three, John and Abigail are in front of the court. At this moment in time John admits to the whole court he has done wrong, he admits his adultery: PROCTOR: I have known her, sir. I have known her. DANFORTH: You- you are a lecher? FRANCIS: John, you cannot say such a-
PROCTOR: Oh, Francis, I wish you had some evil in you that you might know me! A man will not cast away his good name. You surely know that.
DANFORTH: In- in what time? In what place?
PROCTOR: In the proper place- where my beasts are bedded. On the last night of my joy, some eight months past. She used to serve me in my house sir. A man may think God sleeps, but God sees everything, I know it now. I beg you , sir, I beg you- see her what she is. My wife, my dear good wife, took this girl soon after, sir, and put her out on the highroad. And being what she is, a lump of vanity, sir- Excellency, forgive me, forgive me. She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! And well she might, for I thought of her softly. God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat. But it is a whore’s vengeance and you must see it; I set myself entirely in your hands. I know you must see it now.
John has now ever so slightly ruined his name. John has confessed what he has been dealing with for months on end. This is a big scene for John, because it is a huge obstacle he overcomes.
John decides that he rather die