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A farmer in Salem, Proctor serves as the voice of reason and justice in The Crucible. It is he who exposes the girls as frauds who are only pretending that there is witchcraft, and thus becomes the tragic hero of the tale. Proctor is a sharply intelligent man who can easily detect foolishness in others and expose it, but he questions his own moral sense. Because of his affair with Abigail Williams, Proctor questions whether or not he is a moral man, yet this past event is the only major flaw attributed to Proctor, who is in all other respects honorable and ethical. It is a sign of his morality that he does not feel himself adequate to place himself as a martyr for the cause of justice when he is given the choice to save himself at the end of the play.
Miller places John Proctor as the main protagonist of the story and its moral center. Proctor, as Miller writes, is a man who can easily discern foolishness and has the will to oppose it. He is a rational man with a brusque manner who, like Giles Corey, has no qualms about expressing his opinion. Miller portrays Proctor as a decidedly modern character, who eschews superstition for rationality and expresses skepticism for the trappings of organized religion, particularly Parris's obsession with hellfire and damnation. The particularly modern quality of John Proctor draws the audience sympathy to him, even if he is a self-professed sinner who had an affair with Abigail Williams. Yet this is the single sin that Proctor manifests and exists more as a plot point than as an organic character trait. The Proctor that Miller portrays throughout The Crucible has succumbed to and overcome temptation, like so many of us, making him both flawed and respectable.
Thanks for the ideas! I need to find out more information about John Proctor and his opinion of himself versus what he actually does. Could you help or give me sources? Thanks!