In act 1 of The Crucible, which character or characters does the audience find most attractive or sympathetic, and why?

In act 1 of The Crucible, the audience is likely to find the character of John Proctor to be the most attractive or sympathetic. He has integrity, solid priorities, and a good sense of humor. He calls out hypocrisy and idiocy when he encounters them, and his directness also adds to his attractiveness.

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The Puritans of Salem as depicted in The Crucible are not particularly sympathetic or attractive characters, especially when first encountered by readers. Some of them may improve with further acquaintance—the Reverend Hale, for instance, shows himself to be a complex and conscientious character later in the play. In act 1,...

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The Puritans of Salem as depicted in The Crucible are not particularly sympathetic or attractive characters, especially when first encountered by readers. Some of them may improve with further acquaintance—the Reverend Hale, for instance, shows himself to be a complex and conscientious character later in the play. In act 1, however, Hale appears as a pompous, humorless zealot, swollen with pride at his expertise in a subject which does not exist.

Perhaps the most attractive and sympathetic character in act 1, who remains so throughout The Crucible, is the wise and kindly old woman named Rebecca Nurse. Rebecca has a fairly small part in act 1, but from the first scene with her, she is clearly trying to calm the situation that others are stirring up into frenzy. She suggests that Betty's condition should be left to the doctor and that Reverend Hale should be sent home as soon as he arrives. When informed that the doctor is baffled, she responds,

If so he is, then let us go to God for the cause of it. There is prodigious danger in the seeking of loose spirits, I fear it, I fear it. Let us rather blame ourselves.

Rebecca does not venture any explanation of when the Putnam children have died. Unlike many of the other characters, she does not attempt to come up with explanations of what she does not understand. Instead, she urges caution in apportioning blame. This mild, thoughtful, temperate attitude makes her a counterforce, albeit not a very effective one, to the elements of irrationality and spite that are sweeping through Salem.

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In act 1, the audience is likely to find John Proctor to be the most attractive and sympathetic character. We learn from his private conversation with Abigail Williams in her uncle's house that they have had an intimate relationship and that he is trying to put a stop to it. She tempts him and flirts with him, and, initially, he attempts to kindly rebuff her advances. When she begins to insult his wife, he grows angry and gets harsher with her. He also defends his wife against Abigail's accusations.

In addition, John Proctor is also honest. He dislikes the Reverend Parris, and he is willing to own up to it. He is not ingenuine in the slightest. He feels that the minister "hardly ever mentions God any more," and this sentiment makes it seem as though Proctor has his priorities in order. He wants to hear about God, not hell, when he comes to church. He claims that he can "speak [his] heart," even if he is saying something that makes him unpopular, and this shows his integrity.

Furthermore, Proctor has a sense of humor. In the face of the ugly Reverend Parris, who claims that there is a "party in this church" that is working against him and all authority, Proctor proclaims that he wants to find this party and "join it." He goes on to tease Giles Corey for being so litigious and jokes around with the older man. This sense of humor makes him attractive to the audience as well.

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One might be sympathetic to Mrs. Putnam who says she has lost seven babies. But she does promote the rumors of witchcraft based only on intuition. However, within the context of the first act (she later turns her grief on others, namely Rebecca Nurse), she is a sympathetic character. 

Tituba is, perhaps, the most sympathetic character just within the context of the first act. (Within the context of the entire play, others are equally sympathetic or attractive in character: Elizabeth Proctor and Giles Corey to name two.) Tituba clearly cares for Betty but Parris is quite condescending and dismissive, screaming at her to leave when she asks about Betty's condition. Tituba is an interesting character because, being black, she is already and outsider (this is set around 1692). 

She enters as one does who can no longer bare to be barred from the sight of her beloved, but she is also very frightened because her slave sense has warned her that, as always, trouble in this house eventually lands on her back. 

Also, whatever "devilish" mischief that might be attributed to the girls, who were really just dancing in the woods, Tituba can not be blamed because, if she was conjuring spirits, it was at the request of Mrs. Putnam, who admitted to asking Tituba to find out what person murdered her babies.

When questioned about that night, Tituba is honest but she's eventually pressured into lying. The girls follow suit, charging other women of witchcraft. Abby also blames Tituba to save herself. When Abby says Tituba sent her spirit on her, Tituba replies, "You beg me to conjure! She beg me make charm--" Although Tituba succumbs to the pressure and names Sarah Good and Goody Osburn, she (Tituba) is the outsider and sees no other way out. Also keep in mind that she is from Barbados which, to the Puritan mind, has associations of being exotic and involving strange religious practices. If anyone has to fear accusations of witchcraft, it is Tituba. 

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