John Proctor had the roles of husband, farmer, and townie. His name symbolised all that had been spoken so far. His reputation as "John Proctor" is perhaps more valuable to him than everything else he has. He considered it his most valuable possession. To be fair, in a town like Salem where public and private morality were seen to be identical, this makes sense. In contrast, Proctor's extreme inner struggle during the performance likely contributed to his final choice to take his own life.
The audience learns early on that Proctor had an affair with Abigail Williams, one of his housekeepers, while she was working for him. Proctor was convinced that his relationship with God, Elizabeth, and himself had been permanently ruined by his romance with Abigail. Proctor committed adultery because he was unable to forgive himself for his own transgression. He felt betrayed by his wife Elizabeth when she refused to forgive and trust him again. The fact that he couldn't forgive himself made his reactions to Elizabeth's reluctance to forgive much stronger. Proctor was tortured not just by the guilt of his wrongdoing, but also by the knowledge that he would have to tell his wife about it one day. He valued his reputation and the esteem and trust it brought him beyond all else, and he was careful to protect it at all costs. Proctor's reputation suffered greatly once he admitted to having an affair with Abigail, and he no longer had any esteem in his own eyes. Already burdened with sorrow and remorse, he feared the day he would have to admit his transgression. To compound his shame, he thought, a public admission of his transgression would only amplify the gravity of his sin. For the sake of his reputation, Proctor decided not to testify against Abigail at the trials. Despite his moral convictions, he hesitated to tell his wife about his affair for fear of hurting and embarrassing her. In light of this, he decided not to testify against Abigail. This is one of the reasons why he chose to die at the play's conclusion. Proctor believed that he was unable to go on living with this sin always weighing on his mind. It helps the viewer see Proctor in a positive light.
Because he couldn't turn on his buddies, Proctor ultimately decides to terminate his own life. He was afraid that if he betrayed his buddies, it would only add another stain to his character. He would have been forced to constantly punish himself in his mind for his actions. Knowing that other innocents had died while he had lied his way out of death would have been too much for him to bear. This choice was motivated by the fact that he was the father of three sons. If Proctor wasn't a real man, he had little chance of teaching his boys to be men. John Proctor placed a high value on his relationships with family and friends, and he believed that he would not have been able to bring up strong men if he had lived. The lesson he hoped to impart to his kids was that they should fight for what they believe in and never give up to unfair treatment by the law or anybody else. He hoped that showing his kids that he was willing to die for what he believed in would show them that he wasn't a sell out and that he had made up for his mistakes. He hoped his boys would take comfort in knowing their father had gone to his death with dignity and pride.
Proctor was certain that he should end his life the moment his reputation was sullied. This factored heavily towards his ultimate tragic choice. Proctor's internal conflict in Act IV revolved over whether or not he should admit to practising witchcraft in order to avoid execution. Proctor was nearly persuaded by the judges and Hale to hand in the confession, but he ultimately decided against it. Although his reluctance was motivated in part by a desire to avoid shame among his fellow inmates, it also revealed the extreme care he took to protect his reputation. Proctor was afraid that if he signed the confession, it would be displayed on the church door for all to see, and that people would look down on him and his name would be ruined forever. More evidence of his fixation with his reputation comes from his angry outburst, "I have given you my soul; leave me my name!" Proctor's gallant death, with his integrity still intact, was made possible by his intense resolve to protect his honour. Proctor was able to forgive himself and restore his honour and dignity after receiving Elizabeth's pardon and mustering up the strength to forgive himself. By the end of the play, Proctor had fully grasped the meaning of a good reputation and the actions that upheld it. He knew that he couldn't save himself by lying and that he had to speak the truth. He wanted to live, but not enough to spend the rest of his life living a lie just to avoid dying. Proctor's main concern was defending his own spiritual and moral integrity by speaking out against the town's craziness. As a final option, he employed this strategy to bring attention to the trials' shady dealings and wrongful convictions. Proctor's tremendous character and reason were on display in his final stand for justice. Proctor cared deeply about his reputation and was willing to die for it. He assessed the pros and cons of his inner struggle and concluded that he could not afford to make another blunder. For this reason, he effectively executed himself. In Act IV, Proctor discovers the strength of his own will and the significance of his name. Above all else, he realised that protecting his honour and that of his family was crucial. Proctor eventually found peace for the first time in the play when the court authorities took him to the gallows at the end of the play.
Miller's ability to write convincing dialogue was one of the play's strongest linguistic elements. He successfully employed language to establish the play's time frame and mood while also making sure all of the dialogue sounded like it was written by a puritan from the 17th century. Words like "yes" and "nay" were used frequently in the speech, but being archaic, they were simple to comprehend. Miller made sure to pick phrases that were obviously old yet didn't throw off his listeners. Words like "hearty" and "bid" are more instances of this. Miller's use of the word "Lord" and other biblical and religious references helped establish the religious nature of the community he was writing about and kept its religious culture alive.
Miller's effective use of language also included his habit of omitting the letter "g" off the end of several nouns. The line "You'll mention nothing' about Elizabeth!" said by John Proctor aptly illustrates this. Miller gave the language a more rural and conversational tone by omitting the letter "g" from the end of several nouns. Miller's usage of the verbs "It were" and "There be" in place of "It was" and "There is" respectively is another example of his skilful use of language. This speech helps maintain the play's setting and era by sounding strange to a modern audience's ears. Miller's use of linguistic devices like these contributed to the creation of a plausible civilization and contributed to the play's core realism.
Miller's "The Crucible" is structured in four acts. Miller, however, made sure that the action never stopped throughout each of the four acts. Miller was able to build suspense and tension in this way. The unbroken narrative lets readers connect with the story's many characters, especially protagonist John Proctor. Act IV's development of Proctor's character allows the audience to empathise with and understand his decision to destroy the warrant. The audience wouldn't have understood his acts as well as they did or known why he did them if the action hadn't been maintained. The play was written by Miller in chronological order. This aids comprehension and keeps the drama from dwindling.
Act Three's inevitable climax, when John Proctor is charged, is aided by the plot device of building action through the allegations. These strategies pique listeners' curiosity while simultaneously giving them a clear path to follow. They also aid the viewers in making sense of the chaos.
The play's conclusion was likewise a dramatic high point. The audience's interest in Proctor's plight grows significantly in Act IV. The audience's interest in whether or not he will make up a story to get out of his predicament had grown to the point where he had become the play's protagonist. When he informed Elizabeth, "I cannot ascend the gibbet like a saint," however, the situation appeared to be resolved. It's all a sham. That dude is not me. But as Danforth increased legal pressure, Proctor found himself increasingly cornered. Before anything more, he was asked to name the other witches he had encountered, and he flatly refused. Proof of this is seen in the phrase, "I express my own misdeeds," which he frequently uses. Forgive me if I am unable to pass judgement on another." Danforth was persuaded by Hale and Parris to accept this, and he did so begrudgingly. But then he insisted that Proctor put his confession in writing. Proctor finally reached his limit and couldn't bring himself to sign the document. The play's terrible climax occurred when a complicated but honourable character was murdered.
Miller also employed pacing to great effect. Every one of the play's four acts maintains a steady tempo so that the audience never relaxes. Miller made the Crucible comprehensible to its target audience by employing this method. He also used pacing and language to help create suspense before the play's finale.
Because current audiences are more likely to read the notes Arthur Miller supplied about the play's historical context, they will have a different experience than those who saw the play when it was first performed.
Finally, in terms of the play's historical background, "The Crucible" was written during the Red Scare of the 1950s, a moment of enormous worry in the United States over the growth of communism. Miller wrote his play on the Salem Witch Trials, but he wanted his audience to draw connections between the way witches were viewed in early American society and the way communists were viewed in his own.
Last but not least, answering the related issue of "why does John Proctor chose to die rather than lose his "name?" John Proctor was an honourable guy who placed a high value on his excellent name and character. He felt he deserved to be punished since he had committed a sin by engaging in adultery. To avoid living in disgrace and with eternal regret, he decided to take his own life rather than confess to crimes he had not done. In doing so, he hoped to protect his family's honour and his own good reputation.
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