Student Question

How does Miller increase our admiration of the flawed character John Proctor as the play progresses?

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John Proctor suffers from the guilt and shame regarding his affair with Abigail Williams. John Proctor struggles with his guilty conscience and his wife's refusal to forgive him for committing adultery. Despite John Proctor's obvious character flaws, Arthur Miller increases the audience's admiration for him by illustrating his regret and determination to atone for his sins. John Proctor not only rejects Abigail's advances but also challenges the corrupt court after his wife is arrested. In the third act of the play, John Proctor refuses to dismiss his deposition against the court even after Danforth promises to save Elizabeth because she is pregnant. After publicly supporting Giles Corey, John Proctor sacrifices his reputation and outstanding name in an attempt to undermine Abigail's authority by confessing that he committed adultery with her. In the final act of the play, John Proctor demonstrates his integrity and courage by tearing his confession and willingly dying a martyr in hopes that the citizens will rebel against the corrupt court. Overall, Miller illustrates John Proctor's positive, admirable character traits as the play progresses, which influences the audience to sympathize with his character.

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