The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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What are some examples of direct and indirect characterization of John Proctor in The Crucible?

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If one reads The Crucible rather than watching it, much of the direct characterization comes from Miller's stage directions. These are particularly important in John Proctor's case, since Miller says more than once that he is not what he appears: "the steady manner he displays does not spring from an untroubled soul." Later he adds,

Proctor, respected and even feared in Salem, has come to regard himself as a kind of fraud.

One of the principal qualities which we see through indirect characterization is Proctor's quick temper. He is angry with Mary Warren as soon as he enters, and, though he shows some patience with Abigail, he quickly turns on Elizabeth in act 2. This, admittedly, is not a clear-cut instance, for he may have been completely patient with her for the last seven months, but this does not seem consonant with what we see of his character in the following acts, or his treatment of Mary Warren and Mr. Parris in act 1. In prison, we learn from a conversation between Danforth and...

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