John Proctor's Changes in Arthur Miller’s Play The Crucible

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In Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, John Proctor undergoes several changes as he grapples with personal and moral dilemmas. John Proctor develops over time from a lecher to a tragic hero.

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In Miller’s play, Proctor undergoes many obstacles that allowed him to grapple with his moral dilemma. John Proctor is facing a moral dilemma, lecher, he is in a secret relationship with Abigail Williams his old servant. In a final display of humility, he says to Abigail, “Abby, you’ll put it out of mind. I’ll not be comin’ for you more.”(Miller 13). Abigail alters his choices when it comes to the court; John knows what went on in the woods that day yet will not tell because he knows that Abigail is out for his wife. John proctor finally decides he has to do away with Abigail. John Proctor had to face humility from his wife and Salem because Abigail made it impossible for him to keep the secret about them, she had shouted his wife’s name in court, accused her soul of sticking a pin into her, and even said she would do anything to get with him. Elizebeth was arrested and John confessed without her knowing and when she was questioned about it she knew not that he had confessed and lied to save him when he only wanted to save her and the baby which was in her stomach, costing him his life.

In Miller’s play, Proctor undergoes many obstacles that allowed him to grapple with his personal dilemma. John Proctor’s personal dilemma is that he is a tragic hero, he was executed by the court when an attempt to save his wife failed. In a final display of heroism, he tells the court, “Excellency, forgive me, forgive me. She thinks to dance on my wife’s grave! And well she might! - for I thought of her softly, God help me, I lusted, and there us 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. My wife is innocent, except she knows a whore when she sees one.” (Miller 66). John Proctor in an act of heroism to save his wife and unborn child from the mess he caused, cost him his own life. Elizebeth was unaware that John decided to confess about his relations with Abigail therefore, she was trying to protect him from what could come from it and lied which led to the hanging of John Proctor. John Proctor might have died but he saved the life of his wife and unborn child, had he not confessed about Abigail and then the court learned of her escape, his wife would have been killed as soon as the baby was born.

Arthur Miller’s play the crucible displays a theme in which people aren’t always who they seem to be, for example, John Proctor was seen as a hard worker and loving husband and when it came to it he was cheating on his wife with Abigail Williams. This teaches that you shouldn’t always judge a person’s actions and personality based on how they act in certain moments and occasions. The play also taught readers how strict the Puritan society was and that you had to be spot on or you were most likely going to be tried in court for some apparent reason.

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John Proctor’s Changes in Arthur Miller’s Play The Crucible. (2020, November 26). WritingBros. Retrieved February 23, 2024, from
“John Proctor’s Changes in Arthur Miller’s Play The Crucible.” WritingBros, 26 Nov. 2020,
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