The Crucible Essay, Research Paper
?God in Heaven, what is John Proctor, what is John Proctor?
(Act IV, pg 138)
The Crucible is a story of love, pity, revenge, and forgiveness. It details the lives
of the citizens of Salem during the witchcraft trials of 1692, and how their lives, and their
community were affected by them. The two main characters are Abigail Williams, the girl
influencing the trials, and John Proctor, the man who committed adultery with and is later
accused of being a witch by Abigail. The better part of the novel goes into John?s feelings
on who he is and what he is about. The quote mentioned above vividly brings to life his
The quote exposes John?s doubt as to what kind of man he really is. This doubt is
the key to John?s personality because throughout the play, he has been trying to answer
this question. He is having a very hard time dealing with the fact that he cheated on his
wife, and also with the fact that he knows that Abigail and her followers are killing
innocent people. However, he is struggling even more with that fact that even though he
is partially at fault, there is nothing he can do for the situation–it has gotten too far out of
Proctor must consider his position and status in society and his own beliefs, and
act accordingly. But his difficulty with this is growing more and more complex in
proportion to his already complex involvement in the Salem affairs. He is caught in a web
of dilemmas involving not only his fate, but his wife, his friends, and the entire Salem
community. John Proctor is a man thrown into a number of situations which demand
enormous courage to make the right choices.
Proctor?s hardest choice is obvious: will he refuse to sign a false confession and by
doing so die on the gallows for the sake of a commitment to others, or will he sign to be
granted a pardon? As he weighs his choices, he worries even more about the person he
would appear to be to his community.
In the last section, John Proctor resolves his dilemma. He eventually makes the
confession, but when he finds out that it is a public confession, he backs out not wanting
to condemn his friends as witches. He chooses to die and save his name. He says, ?I
speak my own sins; I cannot judge another. I have no tongue for it.? Proctor?s realization
of this gives us a good picture of Proctor?who he really is–and an answer to the
question, ?What is John Proctor.?