John Proctor

From Academic Kids

John Proctor (1632? - 1692) was a victim of the Salem Witch Trials, made famous by Arthur Miller, who used him as a main character in a play, The Crucible.

In The Crucible, Proctor had an affair with Abigail Williams, which made him hesitate before finally telling that she wasn't truly afflicted by the Devil. He knew the truth from the start, but chose to try and protect his own good name. Elizabeth (his wife) had cast Abigail out of their household when she found out about John's lustful relations with her. When Abigail tried to send Elizabeth to the gallows, John brought one of the girls, Mary Warren, to testify against Abigail. When things were not looking so good for him during the trial, he confessed to having had relations with Abigail, casting away his good reputation forever. Abigail denied the claim, and so Elizabeth Proctor was called in to testify. Trying to protect her Husband's name, as well as having told herself that her husband's actions were her fault, she did not confess to her husband's acts of lechery. Reverend John Hale tried to convince the court that Abigail and the other girls were lying, but Abby pretended to be afflicted by Mary Warren. Judge Danforth believes this act, and when Mary Warren saw no way out, she, in a last ditch effort blamed John Proctor, calling him the devil's man. John was then convicted of witchcraft, and, not being able to control his anger, John cried out, "God is Dead!". He signed a confession so as not to hang, but then refused to let the paper be shown to the public. He ended up going to the gallows and hanging, because he refused to lie for his life, thinking that if he did that he would desecrate the brave, truthful lives already extinguished. Though some of these events did not happen during the real Salem witch trials, Proctor's character was definitely inspired by a farmer with the same name who was hanged during the trials.

In the play, he is 30 years old, though he was probably actually around 60 when the witch trials took place.

Due to false accusations connecting the author Arthur Miller to communism during the McCarthyism error of the cold war, Miller metaphoricaly aludes the story to the events between 1948 to about 1956, when the US government was actively engaged in suppression of the Communist Party.

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