This has been a question ive been tackling for a while and cant get a solid answer. Im wondering how John Proctor specifically connects to us as Americans. What did he do that makes him similar to us and how this book is a great work for America.
Thanks for your help. Greatly appreciate it.
3 Answers | Add Yours
The play "The Crucible" depicts a dark incident in American history, the Salem Witchcraft Trials. However, it also revealed some universal lessons about human behavior. That is why the author of the play, Arthur Miller, used the trials as an allegory for what was occurring during the Joseph McCarthy era of the 1950's. Both events illustrate how easy it is for seemingly good people to get caught up in the hysteria of the moment. Although many may know the truth, they fail to act in time to save innocent lives. John Proctor exemplifies this kind of man. He is a good man who knows the truth about Abigail Williams but refuses to get involved until the hysteria is so large it begins to destroy many innocent lives. Once Proctor does get involved, he finds it is too late and eventually loses his own life. The most serious example of this kind of behavior probably occurred during Hitler's reign of terror in the 1930's and 40's. That is why Edmund Burke said, " All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
John Proctor appeals to the reader because we can all identify with the desire not to get involved in an unpleasant situation, even though we may be fully aware of it. John is also caught up in his attraction to Abigail; married adults can sympathize with this dilemma, of being married to someone and committed to the marriage, yet suffering temptation by someone younger, more attractive, different somehow from the spouse. Abigail is the antithesis of John's wife; that is part of Abigail's allure for John. John Proctor really is an Everyman; he appeals to the reader not just of the 1950s but also today.
John Proctor is so much like us all--he wants to do right, has failed, and wants to be forgiven. John is a good, God-fearing man who got caught up in this adulterous affair, an action he sorely regrets. He does love his wife and his God, though he has sinned against them both. He is hesitant, but when he must, he does the right thing--even though it ultimately costs him his life. He is tempted to do the easy thing and sign his name to a lie, thinking his name and reputation are already ruined. Instead, he realizes he has been forgiven by the two who matter, God and Elizabeth. No matter the cost, he understands he must do the hard thing if he wants to maintain his integrity before God and man. I like John Proctor so much more than any "perfect" hero because he failed but found his way to redemption.
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes