How would you judge John's behavior so far in Act II? Cite evidence from the play to support you judgment.

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

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I think that the second act is where we start to see John Proctor asserting himself as a force of good in a world where it is absent.  Naturally, the struggles between he and Elizabeth are evident in this scene, a reminder that their marriage is far from being on settled ground.  It is a telling note that marriage is something that Miller sees as a daily struggle.  Forgiveness and sin in marriage cannot be immediately fixed.  Rather, it is a daily struggle, an hourly travail, where there is no definite or fixed end.  Yet, in this scene, we begin to see John assert himself moving closer on the path of redemption.  His intensity when Elizabeth is arrested is a part of this.  He commits himself to seeing her freed and shows himself to be a responsible husband.  At the same time when Giles Corey and Francis Nurse approach him, he does not retreat into isolation.  Rather, he asserts solidarity with them and helps them to bring a sense of community to their individual struggles.  It is in Act II where we start to see Proctor recognize that action and activism can be the only appropriate response to what is happening in Salem.  While he still has a ways to go in this reclamation, I think that he moves in the right path in this part of the drama.

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