John Proctor’s Role in The Crucible
John Proctor's role in Arthur Miller's controversial drama, The Crucible is as a tragic hero. His fatal flaw is lust, although a few of the other deadly sins also come into play. At the end he saves his soul, if not his life by humbly admitting his adultery, but not confessing to witchcraft and implicating others. In Arthur Miller’s play a clear line of cause and effect is drawn between John Proctor’s adulterous relationship with Abagail Williams and subsequent action in the play.
The adultery takes place before the play begins, but its effects ripple through all the subsequent action. Abigale is jealous of John’s wife Elizabeth, and uses the witch trials to denounce her and others. John cannot testify against Abigale without sacrificing his pride and standing in the community which is the first cause and effect scenario in this work. At this point then lust, sparked the envy that Abigale feels towards Elizabeth.
In the first scene this course of action begins to play out. Abigale’s uncle, Rev. Parris has turned many in the society against him by his hard hearted, domineering, exacting ways, his daughter Betty is ill and he is looking to find the person who is the cause. He describes a scene to Abigail where he saw a dress lying on the grass, glimpsed a naked body through the trees and questions her. She confesses to dancing, but just in sport, not as witchcraft and certainly not to harm Betty who she loves as she would a little sister.
Never the less, the doctor can find no cause so the diagnosis is coming to witchcraft, and the primary suspect is Tituba, the Reverends’ house slave. If society find Rev. Parris to harsh, it is equally judgmental against Abagail for being too free, chief among the accusers is Goody Proctor, who Abigale once served. To call attention from Tituba and to cover up for her adultery she denounces Goody Proctor. This is the next link in the chain of events.