The Crucible : Character Profiles - John Proctor

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Nabilah Chowdhury, 11Ra Character Profile: John Proctor
Character Profile ­ John Proctor
Opening Impression:
The opening interpretation of Proctor is that he is seen as an outsider; he lives his own life and tries to avoid
being part of rumours.
He is a sinner in two ways:
Firstly because he rebels against society by conforming to his own rules and thus can be seen as a hero and
second, and more importantly, he has sinned against his own values and his own standards of moral
The second sin is more important because Proctor's disgust at himself and the way that he tortures himself is
partly what enables the audience to forgive him for his affair and for him to realise that he is after all a good
His acumen (insight) and honesty also endow him with heroic qualities as we see him repeatedly being able
to discern the true from the false and the pure from the corrupt.
Proctor is seen as Miller's hero as he has his own rules and rebels against the ones set by society. He is
incontrovertibly endowed with several heroic characteristics such as honesty and integrity.
Quotations & Analysis:
`[Looking at Abigail now, the faintest suggestion of a knowing smile on his face]'
Shows the connection between them: their lives are parallel (similar).
Relates to how mischievous he is and implies that Proctor rebelled in the past, just as Abigail does.
Thus he is not as pure as one would think and he's not conforming to society's expectations.
`Ah, you're wicked yet, aren't y'
Suggests that he promotes "free" behaviour and it is a hint/ sign of hope that his rebellious nature can
prevent what is later to happen in the play.
`Abby, I may think if you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I'll ever reach for you again'
`Abby'; nick name shows sympathy and also a personal connection that he still has with her
He exaggerates to stress his point about being faithful to his wife.
`[To Putnam] You cannot command Mr. Parris. We vote by name in this society, not by acreage (land).'
Expresses personal hatred.
It reflects that Proctor is a good man for he knows to vote for people for the right reasons.
He considers himself more valuable than those with actual valuable assets.
`I may speak my heart, I think!' (p24)
Shows confidence.
Exclamation mark implies a powerful voice.
`Heart' suggests his own personal opinion.
`I think' could show arrogance and also shows that he values his own opinion which adds to his arrogance.
`Why, then I must find it and join it' (p25)
This reflects his honest and open opposition
Begins to build tension- perhaps this could be used later as ammunition against him? E.g. undermining court
GCSE English Literature Exam Notes

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Nabilah Chowdhury, 11Ra Character Profile: John Proctor
`Your grandfather had a habit of willing land that never belonged to him, if I may say it plain.' (p26)
This indicates the undercurrent of tensions and foreshadows the breakdown of society due to greed and
It also reflects the inequality of power distribution and emphasises the abuse of power by those in authority.
`I've heard you to be a sensible man, Mr. Hale. I hope you'll leave some of it in Salem.…read more

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Nabilah Chowdhury, 11Ra Character Profile: John Proctor
`On what proof, what proof?'
This repetition of `what proof' emphasises Proctor's exasperation with the courts and thus again his ability to
see the truth behind situations.
`[He walks as though toward a great horror, facing the open sky.] Aye naked! And the wind, God's icy wind,
will blow!'
Proctor walking `as though toward a great horror' suggests that Proctor is incontrovertibly doomed to a
particular fate.…read more

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Nabilah Chowdhury, 11Ra Character Profile: John Proctor
`Then who will judge me? [Suddenly clasping his hands] God in Heaven, what is John Proctor, what is John
There is a sense of desperation in this statement and almost insane-like undertone to his actions.
His desperation further emphasises how he is torn and this internal struggle of his, makes him the hero of this
play.…read more


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