How does intolerance appear as a theme in The Crucible? How does John Proctor suffer from the intolerance of the people of Salem throughout the play? How does this change his character? What key events are prime examples of intolerance, both religious and otherwise?

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John Proctor suffers from intolerance when he is portrayed as a criminal who is attempting to undermine the court's authority whenever he visits the town with Mary Warren. While John Proctor is courageously attempting to expose Abigail Williams as a ruthless liar and save innocent lives, the court officials and...

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John Proctor suffers from intolerance when he is portrayed as a criminal who is attempting to undermine the court's authority whenever he visits the town with Mary Warren. While John Proctor is courageously attempting to expose Abigail Williams as a ruthless liar and save innocent lives, the court officials and Salem's authority figures display their intolerance by labeling him a criminal with malevolent intentions. The court officials display their intolerance by arresting every individual who questions the proceedings. In act three, Deputy Governor Danforth displays his intolerance by telling Francis Nurse,

But you must understand, sir, that a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between. (Miller, 97)

The court officials believe that they are endowed by God and refuse to exercise tolerance, perspective, or flexibility in order to remain in power.

The intolerance of Salem's Puritan society is also displayed by how the authority figures perceive any deviation from the social norm, which negatively affects John Proctor. He is criticized for missing church, not having each of his children baptized, failing to recite the Ten Commandments, and critiquing Reverend Parris's sermons. Intolerance is also the cornerstone of the witch trials, and any social deviant is immediately labeled a witch and put on trial. In the Puritan community, any deviation from the social norm is associated with devil-worship, which contributes to the uncontrollable hysteria. The intolerance displayed by Salem's authority figures contributes to John's negative perception of the court and influences him to become a martyr. John Proctor understands that the corrupt court officials have ulterior motives and valiantly chooses to die a martyr in hopes of putting an end to the unjust proceedings.

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We might say that intolerance takes the form of an enforced uniformity of behavior in the community of Salem. When Proctor attempts to tell the court that he knows Abigail is lying, his character is attacked.

His tendency to miss church and to occassionally work on Sunday makes him subject to a negative character assessment by Parris. 

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John Proctor would have lived a relatively quiet life if it was not for the witch trials. The trials required Proctor to testify and share secrets of his life that he would rather not share, especially his affair. Thus one intolerance resulted in another, and he was caught up in the chaos of the moment.
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