Who is the central character in "The Crucible" and why?

Expert Answers
ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although Abigail is an important character, John Proctor is the main character because he is the one challenged to make the most important decisions during the course of the play. Early in the play, Miller reveals that he had had an affair with Abigail, the leader of the girls during play's version of the Salem Witchcraft Trials. He is clearly troubled by his behavior and trying to make amends to his wife. He is the one major character who seems to be searching for the truth, not carried away by the girls' accusations. Ironically, in his determination to expose Abigail, he is forced to admit his own adultery and, ends up being taken into custody himself. He finally learns the importance of integrity when granted as chance at freedom. He recants his confession "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!"
It is a lesson he teaches the audience, but unfortunately, the magistrates do not learn this and John is hanged. But in losing his life, John is able to keep his reputation,This contrasts with Abigail, who was once the most powerful figure in Salem, and in the end she is forced to run away, her reputation in tatters because she never really sought the truth.

davidroberts1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you are asking which character is the protagonist, the answer can be quite interesting. Without a protagonist, there can be no conflict and, therefore, no progression of plot. I wonder if this protagonist could even be something or someone not even in the list of characters? Is it possible that the characters could all be antagonists to the elusive yet somehow omnipresent main character 'self-righteousness?' Any thoughts?