Is John Proctor a moral character in The Crucible? Why or why not?

Quick answer:

John Proctor can be considered a moral character because he selflessly sacrifices his reputation in an attempt to save his wife, choosing to die a martyr to put an end to the unjust Salem witch trials. Despite his obvious flaws, John finds redemption through his sacrifices and admirably atones for his past sins.

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Although John Proctor committed adultery by cheating on Elizabeth with Abigail Williams, one could argue that he is indeed a moral individual because he valiantly refuses to capitulate to Salem's crooked officials, attempting instead to undermine the corrupt court and put an end to the witch trials. In acts one and two, John Proctor struggles with his conscience and does not want to get involved in the witch trials. Despite knowing that Abigail is a fraud, John does not expose her as a liar because he fears the truth about his affair will become public. John recognizes the importance of maintaining a positive reputation and selfishly refuses to intervene. It is only after Elizabeth's arrest that John becomes motivated to challenge Salem's court.

In act three, John Proctor proves that he is a moral individual by standing up to the court and exposing Abigail as a liar. John then sacrifices his reputation in an attempt to tarnish Abigail's name, which backfires when Elizabeth lies about his affair. In the final act of the play, John Proctor is faced with the decision to sign a false confession and undermine his close friends Rebecca Nurse and Martha Corey or die a martyr. Proctor once again demonstrates his moral character and integrity by tearing up his false confession in hopes of disbanding the corrupt court and ending the witch trials. By the end of the play, John Proctor atones for his past sins by selflessly sacrificing his life for others, which is why he is considered a morally upright, virtuous character.

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