The Crucible

John Proctor as a Man of Character: A Study of Scholarly and Critical Sources College

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible was written in 1953 in conjunction with the anti-communist hysteria that had swept not only American society, but also the American justice system during the second Red Scare. Not contemporaneous to the time it was written, Miller’s play was intended to bring to light the parallels between McCarthyism in America and the gruesome higher stakes of the Salem Witch Trials; thereby challenging the rationality of congressional actions and the people’s response, but also, on a certain level, sympathizing with them. The Crucible demonstrates, above all, that doing the right thing is hard, and often requires a degree of bravery or personal sacrifice, which is exemplified in protagonist John Proctor. Proctor’s purpose in the context of the play, then, is to be in a state of development in terms of his conscience, character, and virtue, and to be able to ultimately triumph (despite the corporeal setbacks which ensue) over his personal struggles in the name of protecting justice. When considered in conversation with the thinkings of Richard Gula, Stanley Hauerwas, Aristotle and James Keenan, it becomes evident by The Crucible’s final scene that John Proctor has become a man of conscience, character, and virtue....

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