Who are  characters and what are  their motivations behind their actions in the play ?

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renelane's profile pic

renelane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Thomas Putnam-This is a man who feels he is entitled to more than he has gotten. His long history with the community gives him this idea, and he is resentful that his brother-in-law was not appointed minister. Putnam uses the hysteria to build his land holdings. He has his daughter accuse people in  court, and then profits from the accused need to sell their land cheap.

Mary Warren- is a servant in the Proctor home and a part of Abigail's group. She feels a sense of pride at her part in the court proceedings and uses this as leverage in the Proctor house. She is weak, however, and is tugged between Proctor's demands and Abigail's threats.

John Proctor - is a man who is in need of redemption. After a disastrous affair with Abigail, he has lost his integrity. By refusing to participate in the finger-pointing, and then refusing to lie to save his life, he regains his good name. 

bmadnick's profile pic

bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The number of characters in the play are too numerous to name all of them here, but enotes provides lots of information on not only the characters but their motivations behind their actions as well. I'll give you a few just to get you started.

Abigail Williams: works during the play to get John Proctor to leave his wife for her; had an affair with John when she worked at his home. Cries witch against others to keep herself from getting into trouble

Anne Putnam: is angry that all of her children died at birth except one. Blames others for their deaths and accuses them of witchcraft.

Goody Proctor: having trouble in her marriage to John because she suspects him of having affair with Abigail; is cold toward him

Rev. Parris: more concerned about his reputation than anything else; he's very selfish and judges people based on appearances and wealth

Go to the website below to get more characters and more information about their actions. Good luck!


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