The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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is John Proctor a hero in his stand against the evil in his society or do you see him as foolish when he might easily have saved his life? why does he make his individual sacrifice?

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John Proctor is a hero when he decides that his integrity, his name, the condition of his soul is more important to him than his earthly life.  

Under the circumstances that John Proctor would have to live after he confessed to witchcraft and provided the names of other than he saw with the devil, his life would not be worth much.  His land would be confiscated, and sold at a discount, he would be shunned by the community.  He would find it nearly impossible to make a living and support his family.  He would have no opportunities.

The point of the confession was to validate the court's authority more than to identify witches, which did not exist.  By refusing to sign a written confession and have it posted on the door of the church, Proctor reclaims his dignity.  It is in a way an act of penance for his sin of adultery.

John Proctor has a transformative experience once he is accused, he realizes that he was proud, sinful and needs to repent.  He bravely chooses death to save his name instead of his life.  His wife, remember has three children at home and one on the way.  She must survive after his is executed.

In a perfect world, John Proctor would not have been arrested in the first place.

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