Before the scandal with Abigail in Act 3 of the The Crucible comes to light, there is mounting evidence that reflects poorly on John Proctor. Can you list three of John's actions that might sway Danforth against him? What is Hale's reaction to these things?
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John Proctor is not exactly popular with Judge Danforth, Reverend Parris, and the other magistrates in Salem. He is somewhat of a free spirit and unable to be controlled by the powers that be. John appears to be his own man in charge of his own destiny, and therefore, doesn’t pander to the religious and political powers in Salem. One thing he is accused of is not attending church every Sunday. When Reverend Parris makes this known, John tells him that he is busy on his farm working and providing for his family. To the judges, this is not a good enough excuse to miss church. John has also been critical of Reverend Parris’ desire for fancy goblets and other decorations for the church. Reverend Parris has also asked for a raise in salary which John says he doesn’t need. John comments that this is all Parris preaches about in his Sunday sermons. In addition, when Hale questions John about witchcraft, Hale asks him to recite the 10 Commandments. John is able to repeat all of them except, “Thou Shall not Commit Adultery,” an ironic one to “forget” since he recently had an affair with Abigail.
Overall, John is not under the control of the Puritan church and has instead become an individual who is willing to defy and criticize the church. Reverend Hale becomes concerned about John’s digressions but understands that John is a good man. Hale tries to defend John when Hale realizes that the girls’ claims are false and extreme. At the end of the play, Hale begs John to lie and sign the deposition admitting to witchcraft. When John refuses, Hale knows that Salem has lost a man of integrity and honor.
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