An old proverb once said ? tis not the path to hell, but hell itself that is paved with good intentions?. Indeed, good intentions were what lead the people of Salem Village to act as irrational as they did when they falsely accused innocent God-fearing people of witchcraft. It was good intentions that turned they good-hearted holy people of Salem to cold-blooded murders. Good intentions were also what lead to the downfall and eventually the execution of John Proctor in the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller.
John Proctor was a simple farmer in the beginning of the play. He had not always been the perfect husband or father, but at this point in time he was trying to amend. The plot of the play thickens as the reader finds out more about John Proctor, especially the fact that Proctor was guilty of lechery. He becomes a key figure in the play when he tries to discredit Abigail Williams and fails.
His personal character is steadfast in belief and creed. However the same cannot be said for other people?s opinion of him. This is mostly apparent in the character of Reverend Paris and Reverend Hale. In the beginning they were suspicious of Proctor. They thought that he was the devils advocate, so to say. As time progresses their opinion of him changes. When Abigail, the ringleader of the girls who started the accusations, leaves town they pretty much assume it is all a sham. The rest of the play they try to save Proctors and all the other condemns lives.
Proctor was viewed as a respected man in the community by all except those previously mentioned. His wife also treated him with a tinge of hatred. This is understandable because of his affair with Abigail. When he was found guilty of being in league with the devil, the court and some people in Salem lost all respect for him.
The attempts made by the two Reverends at the end of the play almost worked. John Proctor was ready to confess to committing a crime that he did not do. At the end, however, he relented. John Proctor was hung for loving the devil at the end of the play.
This character represents the nature errors that a wonderful person makes. It also represents people?s tendency to repent and do right by God or those whom they hold dearest. It is natural course of life to wrong and repent and John Proctor is a perfect example of that.
He also represents a person?s integrity and moral value as oppose to a persons life and material thing. Doing what was right and honest by God?s standards was more important, as it should be, than physical needs.
John Proctor was brought into the courtroom when his wife was accused of being a witch. John tried to save her and as a result got accused himself. Another motive that he did not confess was that he did not want his precious wife to think any less of him as a man or person.
One would like to believe that Proctor?s moral standards and repentance for those things he did not do so well, are the standards in which we live by today. It is not the case. While there are surly many people who would die for their cause, there are just as many if not more who put themselves before anyone. With all cynicism aside the world would be wise to repent and go back to their morals.
The main themes are expressed throughout the play through its characters. One example of this is John Proctor, whose integrity sets an example. This theme goes back to the beginning of the play. He gains his integrity, a little, when he tries to appease his wife. Then when he tries to save her, and refuses to lie to save himself, that shows Proctors integrity.
Proctor was involved in many conflicts throughout the play. The first was the conflict with his wife about the affair. That had a direct effect on his internal conflict, which was he guilt for committing lechery. Then the conflict that had to do with saving his wife; that in turn made him a suspect causing another conflict. Perhaps the most important however, was the internal conflict between telling the truth and dying for it, or lying and living with a guilty conscience.
I personally like John Proctor because it shows a person capacity for error and redemption. What was once nothing but an adulator man, became a model for truth and honesty. He did the right thing, because it was the right thing by God and his wife. One can learn by one?s mistakes, and apply that experience to the greater good of man and God.