I would appreciate it if someone can give me constructive feedback for my first paragraph of this answer
How does Miller show the changes in the character of John Proctor during the course of The Crucible?
When John Proctor enters Parris’ home in Act 1 Miller describes him as being ‘respected and even feared in Salem’. This is accentuated by the response to him by the other character within the scene, as Mercy is described to be ‘both afraid and strangely titillated’ in the stage directions when she is in front of Proctor. This highlights that he is a proud man and his reputation has allowed him to gain a sense of standing within the community. As well as this Miller is quick to emphasise that Proctor is reluctant to be a ‘ partisan of any faction in the town’, which underlines the idea that he is his own man and is unwilling to follow a group just due to the fact that they will have an upper hand on an individual. This may be Miller trying to subtly embed the idea that Proctor is willing to go against the group and has the self-integrity to do so. The idea of an individual against the group is a key theme within the play, as within Salem many people felt that they were unable to do so and the power of the group of girls meant that they were able to gain the self-confidence and lose their morals to condemn their neighbours to death. This was particularly important to Miller as he was mocking the ‘witch trials’ held in the USA at the time of writing, with many people, including himself, being trialed for supposedly being communists. As well as this Miller focuses on the weaknesses of Proctor and stresses how he is different below the surface of the man with a ‘quiet confidence and an unexpressed, hidden force.’ This is because Proctor has a regrettable secret and he believes that he ‘is a sinner … against his own vision of decent conduct.’ This is due to the fact that he has had an affair with Abigail; he ‘clutched’ her ‘back’ and ‘sweated like a stallion.’ This highlights his animal like lust for passion and is especially looked down upon in the puritanical society. This may be Miller suggesting that Proctor is far from this perfect character and is almost like a tragic hero, this makes him almost more admirable to the audience as he is a more relatable human like person. As well as this, Proctor is aware of his flaw as he is a ‘sinner against his own vision of decency’ and he is trying to rectify his mistake by staying at his farm for ‘seven-month’. This suggests that he is being a good Christian as he is repenting and is ashamed of his previous errors. However, this may be portraying Proctor as far more positively than he should be portrayed, as you could argue that he is running away from the problem which has meant that a girl has lost her job and seriously believes that he ‘loves’ her still. This could be Miller introducing the recurring theme of self -integrity as he is not willing to do the right thing and be a ‘good man’ in order to protect his reputation, something which was crucial to all of the townsfolk.
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- Thread Starter
- 22-05-2016 13:24