John Proctor’s Passion and Responsibility in The Crucible In The Crucible, Arthur Miller creates a strong and persistent character named John Proctor. Throughout the play, John portrays a conflict of passion through experiences that test his true character. John’s flaw of being true to himself forces him to face a consequence to redeem his Puritanical faith. His passion for being a good man shows in his strong emotion and his courage to take responsibility for his actions. John Proctor is a dynamic individual due to his internal conflict of passion and responsibility.
Despite having a paramour, he finds redemption hrough self-forgiveness, atonement and sacrifice. John Proctor’s passion of integrity is reflected in his responsibility to do what he believes, despite the dire consequences. Passion is defined as having a “strong emotion towards an idea” while responsibility is defined as being “accountable for something” (“Passion,” “Responsibility”). John’s passion varies directly with his responsibility to do what he believes throughout the play. John expresses passion in his moral of being a good man to give a definite image of his integrity. Not only does he have to deal with his affair with
Abigail, but he must also face his confession in court to save his name. “But I [wilt], and, like a Christian, I [confess. ] [Confess]! ” (Miller 55). John takes responsibility for his sins and confesses to the court to clear his guilt. His passion leads him to do what is right for him, despite what others think. “And they choose to die not for a cause, not for civil rights, not even to defeat the error that hanged them, but for their own credit” (Warshaw 113). John’s actions throughout the entire play reflect his personal beliefs, although he does not always follow the Puritan religion.
Despite what other people think, John does what he believes is right. His passion leads him to take responsibility for his actions in order to save his name. John Proctor’s internal struggle of self-forgiveness leaves him in a state of caution. He tries to avoid ruining his reputation, only to find himself getting caught in difficult situations. His moral of being a good man troubles him when it comes time to forgive himself. He believes that his affair with Abigail has disfigured him in the eyes of God, his wife Elizabeth, and himself. “I do not judge you. The magistrate sits in your heart that judges you.
I never thought you but a good man, John, only somewhat bewildered” (Miller 55). John knows that his affair with Abigail was a mistake, so he does what he can to make things right. His internal conflict keeps him from being the good man that he intends to be and makes him unsure of his choices. He can either tell the truth and risk ruining his name, or he can keep to himself making it impossible to forgive himself. John Proctor’s passion for his reputation provides him with the inability to forgive himself. He knows he must confess if he wants to clear his name, but he is unsure of whether he should ell the truth.
John wants to confess, but he says “I have no proof for it” and without proof the court will question his appearance in court (Miller 53). He fears that the confession will ruin his name and make it harder to forgive himself. He eventually gains courage to tell the truth, only causing Abigail to deny everything to protect herself. Her denial causes John to become a victim of witchcraft. This accusation is ironic since John was against it from the beginning causing him to rebel against the court yelling “I say–I say–God is dead! ” (Miller 111).
John’s emotions cause im to take responsibility and follow his beliefs. His passion comes into play as he is determined to reverse what has been done to save his name. John Proctor chooses responsibility for his actions when he confesses to committing adultery. John realizes that his confession is the only way to stop Abigail from causing more hysteria in the town. Since Abigail lies to save herself, John must tell the truth in order to get what he wants. John’s love for Abigail and Elizabeth generates conflict between both relationships. The affair with Abigail disrupts his marriage as
John asserts that they “never touched” (Miller 23). John’s actions in telling the truth about Abigail shows his responsibility and effort to change his behaviors. John’s responsibility causes him to show his dynamic characteristics after cutting off interactions with Abigail. At first, John was a hard working farmer who was not much involved with witchcraft. The affair causes John and Abigail to interact with each other and is the reason for John’s actions later in the play. Abigail’s affection for John is greater than his as she says “And you loved me then, and you do now! ” (Miller 22).
John cuts off interactions with Abigail in order to turn his life around. Abigail’s influence on John lead him into the hysteria and caused him to get involved with the court. The actions following the accusations cause changes in John’s character and make him a target for witchcraft. John Proctor’s passion of virtue reveals itself when he admits a lie with a signature that disrupts his good name. His impression of being a good man is reflected when he tears his confession. He knows that his life is on the line, but his strong willed mindset of being a good man overpowers his decision.
The indset that John has is “though one remembers uneasily that he himself was willing to be hanged rather than confess to what was not true” (Warshow 114). John follows this idea when he chooses to be honest and die over being accused for a false accusation. His passion forces him to sign the confession, only to tear it to save his name. All that he asks for is to have a good name in the town. Proctor screeches, “Because it is my name! I have given you my soul; leave me my name! ” (Miller 143). Proctor chooses his own faith and salvation over life and believes it is easier to die rather than be accused of practicing itchcraft.
His passion to save his name from being blackened by the church is what allows him to follow his beliefs. John Proctor’s passion is revealed when he takes responsibility for his confession and leads him to his death. His strong mind and willingness to be a good man is exposed at the end of the play. Passion and responsibility cohere after he tears his confession and chooses death over being accused. He believes that his integrity to be a good man will lead him to heaven and allow him to redeem himself. He knows that his name is good in the church and people will remember him as a trong member of the town.
Elizabeth eventually forgives him and admits to her own faults. Her words allow John to forgive himself and gives him the courage to go to his death. Elizabeth says “He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him! ” (Miller 145). Elizabeth forgives John for his sins and knows that he has fulfilled his passion for being a good man. John’s death symbolizes humanity and is a turning point for people realizing the insanity of the accusations. John’s passion directs him to take responsibility and follow his moral beliefs and redeem himself of his ultimate vice of pride.
John Proctor expresses his passion of goodness through acts of responsibility and honesty. His strong minded morals make him a strong and persistent character in The Crucible. Throughout the entire play, John faces obstacles that lead him on his way to rebellion. He follows his religion and takes full responsibility for his wrongdoings. The act of tearing his confession proves his dignity of respect and is a result of his self forgiveness. John Proctor overcomes his internal conflict of self-forgiveness by sacrificing his life to fulfill his passion of being a good man.