One of the central characters in the play is John Proctor, a farmer who is respected in the community but has a dark past. Throughout the play, Proctor’s character undergoes a transformation as he grapples with his guilt and his desire to do what is right. In this blog post, we will take a quick look into the complex character of John Proctor and analyse his motivations, conflicts, and ultimately, his tragic fate.
- The central heroic figure of the play (a tragic hero).
- Proctor is a local farmer; he is by and large a good, honest man with strong principles. He’s popular, well-liked and respected by the townsfolk of Salem.
- However, he commits a sin: he engages in a brief affair with Abigail while she is living in his house and working for him as a servant.
- The affair is cut short, and Abigail demonstrates that she still wants to seduce him, but he remains dedicated to his wife Elizabeth.
- Proctor realises that he has the ability to reveal Abigail’s true nature by publicly confessing to the affair, but he is torn between preserving his own reputation and telling the truth. He tries to accuse Abigail of fraud during Mary Warren’s testimony but fails. He ultimately does decide to admit the truth, but this action comes too late – he is then himself arrested and convicted of witchcraft.
- It could be argued that his fatal flaw is lust, he gives in to his urges and commits adultery, which unravels his goodness and ultimately leads to the suffering of his wife, the loss of his child and his own death.
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