"Proctor is a decents man, but he brought his diaster upon himself." Do you agree? Throughly justify your opinion.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the statement has some validity, but it fails to take into account the fluid nature that Proctor represents throughout the play.  Certainly, Proctor would be the first to admit that his affair with Abigail was a mistake.  He seems genuinely remorseful about it and seeks to make right by it.  The construction of the house of lies that enveloped Salem, though, is not his doing.  He has little to do with that, and Proctor is genuinely horrified by how it has taken over the town. Over the course of the drama, his fluid nature is shown to be an individual that struggles to do the right thing to one that is galvanized by his resolve to stand up for what is right, something that he did not do at the start of the play.  In the end, this is what defines him and, in my mind, what shows me that he did not bring disaster upon himself.   His downfall is caused by his refusal to acquiesce to what so many others are doing.  His refusal to validate the current state of affairs that rewards deception and treachery and punishes righteousness and independence is what ends up causing his downfall.  I cannot blame him for this.  I think that a case could be made that he should have "just gone along" with what is going on, but in response to it, Proctor says:

Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul, leave me my name!

These are fairly quoted lines, but I think that that they show that he is committed to what is right and what he believes to be true.  This cannot be something to be sacrificed and when we ask if he brought disaster upon himself versus abdicating what he knows to be right, then I think that the former is what overrides all else.