How does John Proctor contribute to the effectiveness of Arthur Miller's The Crucible?
In the play, the presentation of John Proctor's character should be regarded as the most significant contribution to the effectiveness of The Crucible. The role and portrayal are it's central theme, around which all other events and characters and expressions of human nature seem to radiate.
In Act 1, Proctor is at face value seen to show honesty and common sense for which the reader is encouraged to like him for, but beneath this external appearance, when he is in conversation with Abigail, he shows that he can attempt to misle her too, as well as the reader, as he whispers sweet nothings like any lover would 'Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time' ...pg.18.
Abigail Williams was Proctor and Elizabeth's former servant. When Proctor talks about his feelings for Abigail the reader then doesn't know whether to feel sorry for him and thus inevitably side with him because of his honesty or to vilify him as another one of the distasteful characters in the story.
A measure of his genuine inner held torture and regret is when he says to Abigail 'I will cut off my hand before I'll ever reach for you again' p18. This very physical statement, though exaggerated hyperbole, displays in a single sentence the regret and terror beginning to build in him as he senses the outcomes that may beset him. The candle of his male passion is shown to be fully extinguished when he does not tell, but instructs Abigail to 'Wipe it out of mind. We never touched'
A further example of the conflict of marital right and wrong occurs earlier in act 1 where Proctor is gently rebuffing Abigail's suggestive dialogue and choreography. Miller's...