The Transformation of John Proctor

Essay by blackxlightHigh School, 11th gradeA+, November 2002

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Everyone has a personality all their own; they have characteristics that make them who they are. However, there's one thing most have in common: a conscience. This conscience can bother a person so much that they change who they are. For example, John Proctor, a character in Arthur Miller's The Crucible, transforms during the play. Initially, John Proctor is a passive, secretive man with his own well-being in mind; however, as the play progresses, he becomes involved, thus displaying honesty about his faults and showing concern for the people around him.

Throughout the play, John exhibits passiveness, doing whatever he can to avoid becoming involved. For example, in Act II Elizabeth urges him to approach the court and tell Ezekial Cheever what he and Abigail talked about outside her uncle's house. Instead of agreeing to her request, John allows himself more time by simply saying, "I'll think on it" (Act II, 851).

While he is thinking on the matter, people are being put in jail, being hung, and being buried. However, had he willingly gone forward and told Cheever that Abigail said that their dancing in the woods had nothing to do with witchcraft, he could have possibly ended those trials before they had begun. By delaying approaching the courts, John is trying to increase his chance of having nothing to do with the Salem witch trials.

When Hale is searching for a motive for why the girls might be lying about witchcraft, and Proctor doesn't mention his affair with Abigail, one sees that Proctor is not only passive, but also concerned for his own well-being. In Act II John is explaining to Elizabeth why it is that he cannot go to the courts. He says, "I am wondering how I may prove what she told me, Elizabeth. If...