The Crucible John Proctor And John Hale


The Crucible: John Proctor And John Hale – Good Citizen Vs. Good Person Essay, Research Paper

The Crucible: John Proctor and John HaleGood Citizen vs. Good Person

In The Crucible, Arthur Miller portrays the two main characters, John

Proctor and Reverend John Hale as ?good men?. The term ?good men? in this play

is ambiguous. Reverend John Hale was a good man in the sense of being the

perfect and good citizen of Massachusetts in the 1600’s. He was pious, adherent

to the laws and beliefs, and a good Puritan Christian. John Proctor, on the

contrary would not be considered the greatest citizen. He was not so religious,

nor the perfect Christian, and was not so adherent to the Puritan’s laws and

beliefs. However, he was still considered a ?good man?, as a person rather than

being an ideal Puritan citizen. He was very honest, moral, loyal to his friends

and family, and was generous. The major difference between the two are good

citizen vs. good person.

The most important trait to prove that John Proctor was a good person

was his honesty. In every scene in the play that John Proctor is in, his

commendable honesty stands out. It didn’t matter how much trouble he would

bring himself into, his philosophy was ?I may speak my heart? (Miller, p.30).

Proctor’s honesty eventually lead to his downfall and death.

The first incident in the play where we see Proctor’s honesty is after

the affair he had with Abigail. He realized his mistake and was honest and

admitted it to his wife Elizabeth. In the next situation where Proctor is

involved he tells the Reverend Parris why he does not like him, and it also gets

him into trouble. He tells him, ?Can you speak one minute without we land in

hell again, I’m sick of hell! (p. 30). He is honest, yet disrespectful to his

reverend. While in court, John Proctor is too honest to the judges. He admits

his guilt of not being a religious Christian and says ? I have once or twice

plowed on Sunday? (p.91) and he also admits not going to church every Sunday. He

also admits that he committed adultery and had an affair with Abigail. His most

commendable moment of honesty was when he was on death row and would rather die

than confess and lie.

Proctor’s morality, and loyalty also contribute to being a good person.

When the marshals Herrick and Cheever came to arrest his wife, he stuck with her

to protect her, even though she was accused of being a witch. He is bold by

ripping up the warrant, and risked getting arrested to help her. He is strict to

the officer of law and tells him ?you’ll leave her out of sight and out of mind,

mister!? (p.74). He publicly curses the deputy governor, ?Damn the deputy

governor! Out of my house!? (p.77) He makes a sacrifice to help his family

rather than help himself.

Proctor was a good man, though not such a good Puritan Christian. He did

not go to church every Sunday, and broke the Sabbath by plowing. He violated one

of the ten commandments by committing adultery. ?He is a sinner against the

moral fashion of time? (p. 20), states the narrator of this play. Nor did he

believe in all the Puritan beliefs and laws. He didn’t believe that witchcraft

was invading the community, ?I have wondered if there be witches in the world -

although I cannot believe they come among us now? (p.69). This is considered

heresy towards the beliefs of the Puritan religious authority, and the Reverend

Hale points that out to Proctor. Proctor did not have faith in the court system

and clearly disregarded the official court warrant.

John Hale was a good citizen. He was a very pious Puritan, by the fact

that he became a reverend. Also, he was shocked by the fact that someone missed

a day of church, and could plow on Sabbath becaue he believed ?a Christian on

Sabbath Day must be in Church!? (p. 51) . He is an expert in the field

witchcraft, therefore believing in the existence of witches, as the Puritans did,

and says that ?we shall find him out if he has come among us, and I mean to

crush him utterly if he has shown his face? (p. 39). Hale does believe that the

devil has come and that he has the power and knowledge to crush him. He is

shocked to find out that Elizabeth does not believe that witches exist. Hale has

faith and believes in the court system. When Francis was complaining that his

wife was arrested and she is not a witch, since Hale had faith in the court told

him, ?Let you rest upon the justice of the court; the court will send her home,

I know it? (p.71) , when in fact the court did not find her innocent. Because

Hale was a good Puritan, he could not believe that the court was unjust.

The definition of what a good Puritan should be is defined by the

characteristics of Reverend John Hale. A good person has the characteristics of

John Proctor. Both were good in their own ways. Proctor was not considered such

a good man in the Puritan society though- he was hated by many in his community,

and sentenced to death by them. Hale on the other hand is not such a moral

person, more of a moral failure. His pride and meddling into the lives of

everyone lead to almost everyone’s downfall. He thinks that he is so smart and

can solve all the witch problems. He causes Abigail and the girls to blurt out

the witches, which causes the whole mess with the Proctors getting in trouble

with the law. He gets Rebecca Nurse in trouble by taking Francis’s suspicions of

reading books into account. He causes many false witches in the community to

die, causing them and their husbands their downfall. His downfall is losing the

respect and being hated by almost everyone in the community.

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