John Proctor’s Transformation
In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, John Proctor shifts from a prideful person to an determined man, then transforms to a courageous person. John Proctor is a farmer that lives in Salem. He has an affair with Abigail, the niece of the minister Reverend Parris. Although Abigail wants to continue their affair and believes that he loves, John Proctor does not want to have another affair with her nor does he love her. He loves his wife, Elizabeth Proctor, and Abigail is jealous of Elizabeth therefore wants to get rid of her to take Elizabeth’s. Abigail starts accusing people of witchcraft in Salem, along with her group of friends, and begins the witch paranoia in Salem. She accuses many people, as well as Elizabeth Proctor with hopes of her being executed. John’s pride keeps him from telling Salem of his affair and the reason Abigail starts the accusing people of witchcraft until Elizabeth is arrested for being a witch. He becomes determined to save her and he will do anything to save his wife, even if that means telling Salem of his affair with Abigail Williams. Finally, he transforms into a courageous person to save everyone in Salem that is accused of witchcraft. He admits to being the mastermind of the witchery in Salem and that he sent his spirit out to the people of Salem making them witches.
In the beginning of The Crucible, John Proctor is prideful and believes he should already be forgiven because he has done everything to please his wife. As he argues with his wife he says, “Spare me! You forget nothing’ and forgive nothing’. Learn charity, woman. I have gone tiptoe in this house all seven month since she is gone. I have not moved from there to there without I think to please you, and still an everlasting funeral marches round your heart. I cannot speak but I am doubted, every moment judged for lies, as though I come into a court when I come into this house!”(1124) John Proctor thinks by now, he should have been forgiven of his affair with Abigail, this shows his pride because he believes that he has done everything to please her and he should be forgiven after all the good things he has done for her. This is also shown in his words when he says to Elizabeth, “No more! I should have roared you down when first you told me your suspicion. But I wilted, and like a Christian, I confessed. Confessed! Some dream I had must have mistaken you for God that day. But you’re not, and let you remember it! Let you look sometimes for the goodness in me, and judge me not.” (1124) But, although John has done many good things for her, he cannot expect his wife to ever forgive him when he has broken their promise in marriage. The promise in marriage is important because it is a promise of commitment to the person you marry and as a Christian he should have been more aware of the sin of adultery. He is prideful in his thoughts that he should be forgiven with acts of kindness towards his wife and pleasing comments.
John is determined to save his wife and he shows his determination in his actions. He threatens Mary Warren to testify against Abigail and admits to the court that he had an affair with Abigail Williams, risking his reputation. After Elizabeth is taken away by the officers, John corners Mary Warren and threatens her by saying, “My wife will never die for me! I will bring your guts into your mouth but that goodness will not die for me!” (1135) John’s violent language shows what he is willing to do to get his wife back. He is desperate and determined to save his wife who is innocent and a victim of his actions. Then, John Proctor shows his determination through his confession, “She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! And well she might, for I thought of her softly. God help me, I lusted, and there is 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.” (1148) John confesses in court of his affair with Abigail and he risks his life and reputation in saying this. He willingly confesses to a sin in front of many people, risking everything to save his wife. Proctor’s actions reflect his determination to save his wife, no matter what it costs. He can give anything as long as he can save his wife.
Finally, John transforms into a courageous person at the end. John Proctor shows his courage when he tells the court of his affair with Abigail. He says, “She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! And well she might, for I thought of her softly. God help me, I lusted, and there is 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.” (1148) John’s courage is shown through this because it is hard to confess something as embarrassing and humiliating as an affair. Although he does this to save his wife, it does not mean that it is simple, his reputation is affected by this confession. He also demonstrates his courage when he purposely allows himself to get arrested, acting as if he were responsible for the start witchcraft in Salem. When Mary betrays him out of fear of Abigail, John says, “A fire, a fire is burning! I hear the boot of Lucifer, I see his filthy face! And it is my face, and yours, Danforth! For them that quail to bring men out of ignorance, as I have quailed, and as you quail now when you know in all your black hearts that this be fraud- God dams our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together!” (1153) He purposely confesses that he is Lucifer, hoping he will be able to stop the execution of the others that were accused because of him. His affair with Abigail started this paranoia in the first place so he feels guilty and responsible for the witch trials. His courageous actions end the witch trials and save everyone that was accused.
John Proctor’s transformation from a prideful man to a determined man then to a courageous man saves everyone of Salem. John was prideful at first and felt that he should be forgiven of adultery because he was doing everything to please his wife, but then shifts to a determined man to save his wife from being executed. He becomes a courageous man in the end to save the town of Salem of the witch trials that started because of him. I believe The Crucible shows that even mistakes that you may think are small or irrelevant can lead to serious consequences and if you do something bad, it always comes back to you in some kind of way.