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Near the end of the play John Proctor says to Elizabeth ‘I am no good man.’How does...

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skyrock5 | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted April 6, 2012 at 12:52 AM via web

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Near the end of the play John Proctor says to Elizabeth ‘I am no good man.’
How does Miller present John Proctor?: Is he a good man in your view?

I would like to know your opinion on this question; it would greatly help me with my GCSE work, thank you.

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted April 6, 2012 at 1:58 AM (Answer #1)

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I believe that John Proctor is a good man who fell into a trap. Abigail set an enticing trap and she came along at a time when Elizabeth was very sick. John Proctor made a mistake. He allowed his physical needs to dominate his thinking:

It is revealed early in the play that he has had an adulterous affair with Abigail, who worked as his servant. Yet he clearly shows remorse for his act and is attempting to right his error; he is conciliatory with his wife, Elizabeth, and disdainful of Abigail's sexual advances.

No doubt, John is guilty of adultery, but he never practiced witchcraft. 

John is a hard working father. He tried to make peace with Elizabeth. While Elizabeth has every right to not trust John, he is remorseful and truly repentant for his act of adultery. 

In hopes of saving innocent people from hanging, John Proctor even admits his guilt of adultery to the courts. He admitted that he had slept with Abigail. This was extremely difficult for John, but he knew it had to be done to protect innocent people from hanging. He was willing to mar his good name to save others.

Overall, John Proctor is a good man who made a mistake by sleeping with someone like Abigail. Abigail proved to be a dangerous person. She proved to be manipulating and controlling. No doubt, she seduced John Proctor and costs him his good name in court. John Proctor died trying to clear his name from witchcraft. He proved he had integrity. He had rather die than to give in to accusations of witchcraft:

He is at his most self-aware in his final speech when he realizes the importance of maintaining his integrity. Explaining why he has recanted his confession, he cries: "Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul, leave me my name!"

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