John Proctor is a local farmer who lives just outside of town. He is stern and harsh- tongued and hates hypocrisy. He initially was a sinful man who had an affair with Abigail. He was dishonest to Elizabeth and he had been felt guilty. Elizabeth hadn’t forgiven him easily. He hesitated to expose Abigail as a fraud because he worried that his secret which was to having an affair would be revealed. Because of the affair he admitted he was a witch. He decided against the admission because it would dishonor him and stain not just his public reputation, but also his soul.
In Act1, John Proctor displayed his guilt about having an affair with Abigail Williams, a young girl of seventeen. Proctor convinced himself he was a sinful man that had done wrong and to have respect for himself once again, he must break off the relationship with Abigail.
When Abigail mentioned to Proctor the relationship she and he once had. He said to her, “No, no, Abby. That’s done with,” and, “Abby, you’ll put it out of mind. I’ll not be comin’ for you more. Even when Abigail tried to persuade Proctor to admit his love for her, he still denied it and claimed he had no love for her any longer. She said to him, “I know how you clutched my back behind your house and sweated like a stallion whenever I came near! Or did I dream that? ” In all of Abigail’s persuasion to try to get him to admit his love for her, Proctor replied, “Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time; but I will cut off my hand before I’ll ever reach for you again.
Wipe it out of your mind. We never touched, Abby. Proctor said to Abigail that they never touched was his way of trying to get through to her that the relationship between the both of them had to end here. In Proctor’s mind, saying to Abigail that was the end of their affair gave him the closure that he needed to truly forget what he and Abigail had. The affair between Proctor and Abigail also had made his love for Elizabeth grow stronger. The guilt of the affair made him realize how Elizabeth was a good woman and deserved more than a cheating husband and he refused to allow Abigail to speak about her.
In Act2, when Proctor mentioned speaking to Abigail alone, Elizabeth questioned him about it and Proctor excuse for being alone with her. She said, “Do as you wish, then,” He felt hurt by Elizabeth’s suspicion and felt she judged him and that he did not have her forgiveness. He got angry with her and he said, “No more! I should have roared you down when first you told me your suspicion. But I witted, and like a Christian, I confessed. Confessed! Some dream I 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! ” that since Proctor felt he chose to confess to her rather than lie and deny her accusations. In Act4, Proctor said “I cannot mount the gibbet like a saint. It is a fraud. I am not that man. My honesty is broke, Elizabeth; I am no good man. Nothing’s spoiled by giving them this lie that were not rotten long before. ” Proctor felt that it would not be much sin to save his life by confessing a lie. Elizabeth said to Proctor, “Do what you will. But let none be your judge.
There be no higher judge under Heaven that Proctor is! Forgive me, forgive me, John – I never knew such goodness in the world! ” Elizabeth showed that she cared about Proctor but she wanted him to realize that it was his own decision to make whether to stay true to himself or not. She told him that he was the only one who could judge himself and decide whether he could live with himself after this lie. Proctor declared, “I want my life… I will have my life. ” then Proctor admitted to Parris and Danforth that he had seen the Devil and he had bound himself to his service.
He felt empty. Proctor showed that he truly did not believe in signing the confession and the fact that he made him a deceitful person that was not true to oneself. Then he tore up the confession and boldly said, “I can. And there’s your first marvel, that I can. You have made you magic now, for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough to wave a banner with, but enough to keep it from such dogs. ” It is shown the Proctor is finally at peace with himself.
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