What is the thematic significance of John Proctor being a dynamic character?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that it is highly relevant to the overall theme of the work that Proctor is a dynamic character.  In a setting where political order is threatening any semblance of justice and fairness, Miller constructs Proctor to be a character that is symbolic of how individuals must respond to the presence of injustice in the world.  Miller understands that the thematic meaning of the work is only able to be conveyed when Proctor becomes dynamic and moves from being isolationist to an active agent of his own world.  Miller recognizes that the Proctor's struggle is critical.  In this, Proctor starts out in an isolationist mode, not wanting to involve himself in the affairs of the town.  Over the course of the drama, Proctor shows his dynamic state by involving himself and taking an absolute stand against Abigail and the hypocrisy of the town.  In this light, Miller makes the argument that regardless of the consequence, the most appropriate action against injustice is to stand up for justice.  In this light, the recognition of the importance of one's "name" as Proctor demands is what enables Proctor to be both dynamic and an example of how one must act in the face of injustice and institutional unfairness.

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