Why does John Proctor choose to hang and what does he thereby accomplish?

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Throughout the play, John Proctor struggles with his self-image. In act 2, he gets very defensive when his wife, Elizabeth, seems to suspect him, still, of some wrongdoing as concerns Abigail Williams, the girl with whom he'd had an affair. He wants Elizabeth to "look sometimes for the goodness" in him, and she claims that she does not judge him. She says, "The magistrate sits in your heart that judges you." She insists, then, that he judges himself, and it is he who must forgive himself.

After Elizabeth is arrested, he speaks "with deep hatred of himself." He seems to feel as though he is terrible and worthless, as he tells Mary Warren, "My wife will never die for me! . . . that goodness will not die for me!" He calls Elizabeth "goodness," implying that he is not.

In act 4, as John and Elizabeth speak together, he conveys the same sort of opinion of himself. He considers confessing to witchcraft, only to save his life. He justifies this decision, saying, "I am no saint. Let Rebecca go...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 676 words.)

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