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The Crucible, by Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible shows the protagonist, John Proctor, tragic downward spiral as he unearths the error of his way. Proctor is used as a vehicle for Milers social criticism against the House of Un-American Activities Committee. It was led by Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1953. This was a time when anyone with left wing views was prosecuted with insignificant evidence, an identical affair to the Salem Witch Trials around 300 years earlier. John Proctor begins in Act One as an egotistical man, more concerned about his own reputation than the lives of others around him. Nevertheless, by the end, his moral epiphany shows him in a new light which thus compel the audience to forgive him for all his imperfections. Proctors transformation in character and his journey to redemption in the audience’s eyes is what this essay will discus.

In Act One, Proctor is a character that the audience immediately loathes and despises due to his arrogant way; self obsessed nature and hypocritical manner towards others. “Put it out of mind Abby, we never touched” is a perfect archetype of Proctors hypocritical manner. He is denying the affair between them ever happened to make sure his name stays unsoiled in the town. Reputation is a crucial aspect of the Salemites lives and most of Proctors decisions have taken into account what would happen to his reputation. This quote also portrays him in a domineering way with an air of superiority over Abby as he is telling her what to do and refusing to let her think otherwise. The word put is an excellent choice of word as it is an imperative verb, supporting the suggestion of Proctor being controlling.

The way he talks with Abby during the Act is interesting yet hypocritical. “(A knowing smile ...

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...alem at least try to show to God they are not fully condemning a man to death, they are at least giving him a chance to confess. However, when Proctor refuses and consequently condemns himself to death, redeeming him in the audience’s eyes. He has made the right, honourable choice.

Throughout the play we’ve pursued Proctors journey from his arrogant nature at the beginning to someone we not necessarily have sympathy for however at least empathise with his situation. Miller’s message about McCarthyism is extremely apparent throughout The Crucible about it being just as preposterous as the Salem witch trials in 1692. Proctor can be read in numerous ways from a tragic hero’s journey to a rude awakening into morality, but what is important is the meandering passage he took which lead to him redemption in the audiences eyes.

Works Cited

The Crucible - Arthur Miller
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