From The Crucible, how is Proctor a victim of circumstance?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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For debate purposes, I think that you would have to construct as many elements possible to suggest that Proctor had no way out or found it difficult to effectively evade the difficulties that faced him.  It should be noted that most of the support provided will come from the first half of the drama, as Proctor asserts more of a voice as the play progresses leading to the crescendo of the drama that shows Proctor taking a firm stand outside of circumstance.  Yet, in making the case for Proctor being a victim of circumstance, I think it would involve making the point that the affair with Abigail was something that victimized him, to an extent.  Perhaps, it would involve pointing out that the Puritan notion of marriage that limited Proctor emotionally or even physically, compelling him to find satisfaction in the arms of Abigail.  In terms of the town dynamic itself, Proctor found himself victimized to Parris' whims and his own sense of desire for control in the church, making it impossible for Proctor to find himself at home in it.  I think that another element in play would have to be the fact that once the town was in the grips of the witch hunt, Proctor could not speak out against what was happening. Proctor recognizes that his word would be challenged severely by speaking out given the emotional timbre of the town.  At the same time, Proctor legitimately believes that Mary Warren's testimony will be enough to spare his own fate in court, only victimized by her victimization at the hands of Abby and the other girls.  These would be points to be included in making the case that Proctor is a victim of circumstance.


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