John ProctorJohn Proctor, a farmer in his middle thirties, was the kind of man that was powerful of body, even- tempered, and not easily led. "In Proctor's presence a fool felt his foolishness instantly[...]"(Miller 20). Proctor was a man of disbelief and opposed many things, such as how Parris ran the church. Although John Proctor changes from a man concerned with the individual, to a man concerned with his community, the story is an apparent dilemma because his change does not stop the hysteria that is running around town. Proctor struggles to come to term with himself as a human being subject to flaws, yet still able to rise above his own concerns to help others in the community. John prefers to wait out a problem, hoping it will resolve itself rather than to take immediate action. An example of this is when he first hears of the girls in Salem making accusations of witchcraft.
John also wants no part in the witch-hunt and until his wife is accused of evil, he does his best to avoid engaging in the hysteria. John also is waiting for the madness of the witch trials to stop and his life to return to normalcy. One of his flaws is that he focuses on what is the specific cause of a problem, without considering all other possibilities for example, "[...] I know the children's sickness has naught to do with witchcraft" (Miller 68). John develops from shame to renewed assurance. For a time his humility as an adulterer refuses him to accept the greater humiliation of confessing witchcraft, since he has already blackened his "good name" by surrendering to and then publicly admitting lechery, he is tempted to save at least his life. Resentment, however, compels him to salvage his self-respect. "How may I live without my name? [...]"(Miller 143).