The air is warm, sweat dripping down his face. He longingly looks towards his wife with tears in his eyes; knowing the end is nigh. And then, with a bang, a crack, a whimper; his soul left, hoping to be in a better place. This was one man of many who was hung for witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. They all were admirable and died for a cause. One of them was an influential man by the name of John Proctor.
John Proctor is an admirable man in the play “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller because he is a respectable person, has a need to protect others in his life, and has integrity/honor. John is a respectable man who stands up for what he believes in. He refuses to betray his friends when they needed him the most. John Proctor signed his confession but the room is shocked by what he did. Rebecca was downcast because she was not going to sign the confession. If John went through with the confession and they nailed it to the church door as they wanted, Rebecca would not have a chance at redemption. So, John does not betray his friends and “tears the paper and crumple it” (Miller 144), condemning himself to death.
By tearing the confession he would not have to lie again. Thus earning the respect of the people around him for standing up for what he believes in. John declines to be seduced by Abigail. John and Abigail had an affair, and Abigail was trying to seduce him again and capture him on her side. When she was trying to convince him to be hers he insisted, “No, no Abby. That’s done with” (Miller 22). He was seduced once, but a man who does not have respect for himself or even his wife would give in a second time, not this time. This time he recalled his wife and what he put her through by cheating on her so, he does the respectable thing and breaks it off. It requires a lot of courage to be able to stand up to a court with a chance to die.
When he came to exhibit the evidence and he insisted, “She (Mary Warren) never saw any spirits” (Miller 88). John came to the court knowing that by defying the court he could be charged with a crime. He did it anyway. He assumed the role of disrupting the court and giving them evidence to demonstrate the innocence of the people they were killing. This is an act that many would deem as respectable and courageous. John Proctor has a need and an obligation to defend the people around him. John came to free those who have been falsely accused; not just his wife, everyone. He came to the court to save his wife and his friend’s wives but, Danforth assured him that his wife was pregnant and they could postpone the trial for 1 year.
Danforth did not disclose anything about John’s friend’s wives. So, John uttered, “I-I think I cannot” (Miller 92). He accomplishes this because what kind of man would he be if he only thought about himself and did not even try to assist his friend’s wives. John does try to defend their wives because that is who he is, a protective person. Cheever, on behalf of the court, came to the Proctor household and wanted to arrest Elizabeth Proctor, but John was prepared to jump to his wife's defense. Cheever came to their house looking for a poppet and when he spotted one in their house, he tried to arrest Elizabeth. John knew it was Mary’s so, he exclaims, “She (Elizabeth) will not go (to jail), Fetch Mary Warren here” (Miller 73). Later he yells, “(to Cheever) out of my house…(to Elizabeth) You will not go” (Miller 77)! He indicates his wife to go collect the only evidence they have to defend Elizabeth against her accusations. He was the only one in the room to offer any kind of defense or solution to protect his wife. John also yells at Cheever to leave and Elizabeth to stay but to no avail. John defended his friend Rebecca even though by doing so he would be saved and only sentenced to jail.
After John tore up the confession, Rebecca responds by saying, “Let you fear nothing; Another judgment waits us all” (Miller 144)! By saying this Rebecca is showing her support for John because he defended her by tearing the confession. She implies that John had just done something that shelters her by how she defends him. John Proctor has both honor and integrity during the play. Before the play took place John had an affair with Abigail, but when the time came, he confessed to it in the court of law. While he was trying to establish the legitimacy of Abigail, he shows the court that she is not as authentic as they first believed. John tells the court, “I have known her” (Miller 110).
By completing this, he has honor and integrity because of the difficulties in announcing it to the court while also knowing the crimes for lechery. Near the end of the book when push came to shove John was faced with a decision: to have honor/integrity and die, or to lie, betray your friends and live to fight another day; he chose death. After tearing the confession he just wrote he cries, “I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor” (Miller 144). In saying this, it requires an enormous amount of integrity to be willing to die to stand up for the truth. He achieves this because he is honorable and is content to die for something he believes in. John was honorable even though he once made a mistake by cheating with Abigail; he acquired an opportunity to make up for it, and he did. When Abigail was trying to convince John that they still loved each other and it was okay to do so, John responds, “but we did not” (Miller 23). By responding this way he is clearly trying to cut it off and regain some of that honor that he once had. He resolves this because he remembers how his wife felt about what he undertook and that cheating on her it is dishonorable so; he achieves the honorable thing by trying to cut it off.
John Proctor is admirable due to his respectability, the willingness to protect others, and who possesses integrity/honor. John faced many situations that some of us could face today, like, cheating on your significant other; while others we would not, like, being accused of witchcraft. If you were put into the same types of positions as John Proctor found himself in, would you be able to compose yourself and act as admirably as he did in those situations?
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