John Proctor and Abigail Williams
John Proctor is a good man, but with a secret, flaw. He had an affair with Abigail Williams(which occurs before the play even begins), and created Abigail’s jealousy for John’s wife, Elizabeth, that will set the whole witch hysteria in motion. Once the trials have begun John realizes he can stop Abigail’s rant through Salem but only if he confesses to his adultery. But doing this will ruin his good name, and John is, above everything else, a proud man who puts a great emphasis on his reputation. He then makes an attempt, through Mary Warren’s testimony, to name Abigail as a fraud with revealing anything about his affair with Abigail. When John’s idea eventually fails, he comes out calling her a “whore” and announcing his guilt publically. Only then does he realizes it’s to late, and that matters have gotten out of hand. Now not even the truth can break the powerful frenzy that he has allowed Abigail to do.
John’s confession only leads him to getting arrested and charged as a witch himself, and though he criticizes the court and its proceedings, he is also aware of his terrible role in allowing this fervor to grow unchecked. Proctor redeems himself and provides a final denunciation of the witch trials in the final act. Offered the opportunity to make a public confession of the affair with Abigail Williams and he accusation of witch craft and live, he almost succumbs, even signing a written confession. His immense pride and fear of the public opinion compelled him to withhold his adultery from the court, but by the end of the play he is more concerned with his personal integrity than his town reputation.
John still wants to save his name, but for personal reasons, mostly for his wife so that she will forgive him for the sin against their marriage. John’s refusal to provide a false confession is a true religious and personal stand, A confession like that would dishonor the people he spent in the jail with, who are brave enough...