John Proctor in The Crucible

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Crucible Paper

The Puritans had many values that everyone must know and completely obey. One of those values is to know, and obey the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments were one of the most important things for all Puritans to know and obey, because without them there would be no order. For a Puritan not to know his Commandments by heart was nearly unheard of seeing how the Commandments are the basic rules for them. Although almost all of the Puritans knew the Commandments there were a few who didn’t know them all by heart. John Proctor was one of these who didn’t know them all by heart. Its not just the fact that he didn’t know them all by heart that lets him fit into the category of not being a good Puritan because he lacks the Puritan characteristic of knowing and obeying the Ten Commandments. One way he shows that he doesn’t obey the Ten Commandments is the fact the he rarely attends church anymore. This is breaking one of the Ten Commandments, ‘Thou shall remember the Sabbath Day and keep it Holy’ this Commandment states that on every Sunday you must attend church. Yet John doesn’t, which isn’t following what he should do. Another example of not obeying the Commandments is by having an affair with Abigail, who was his housekeeper and who happened to be eleven at the time. In committing this act he directly disobeyed the Commandment ‘Thou shall not commit adultery’. This Commandment states that when one is married to someone they should only be active among themselves. The finally way John shows that he is not a good Puritan is by not knowing all the Commandments when asked to say them by Mr. Hale. John says them all but adultery. These three things made John Proctor ‘an unworthy Christian’ by Puritan standards.

When John was asked to repeat the Ten Commandments by Mr. Hale he was off to a good start but he forgot adultery completely and said one twice (page 63-64). This shows Mr. Hale that in fact John doesn’t know the Commandments, which means he is not a good Puritan. The reason for Mr. Hale’s presents at Proctor’s house was because Elizabeth Proctor, John’s wife, was accused of witchcraft early that day at court. Hale didn’t come representing the courts, but purely to gain knowledge of the people of Salem so that he may gain knowledge of how to get rid of the Devil if he truly is in Salem.

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