Fear is defined as an unpleasant feeling of anxiety or apprehension caused by the presence or anticipation of danger. A famous man once said "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself', but do we really believe that. When you experience fear, what is it that you're really afraid of? Is it what caused the fear in the first place? Maybe it is what can come to be because of that action. John Proctor was afraid. He wasn't afraid of fear itself, but of the consequences of one's actions. John Proctor knew that the most minuscule of actions taken by one man could have an effect as small as only effecting himself, or as large as changing the entire world. He knew this for he had seen it happen throughout the Salem witch trials. The delay of his actions caused the witch trials to spin out of control and lead to the deaths of nineteen people.
It all began when John Proctor went to see Mary Warren his servant. When he arrived at the house where she had been he started up a conversation with Abigail Williams. Proctor shows that he knows she is up to no good when he says "What's this mischief here?" to Abigail. We find out then that Abigail and John had an affair earlier on. This action haunts John throughout his entire life. His fears of losing his wife, his good name, and his pride to the charges of lechery, increase over time and cause him to become more unstable as he continues to fight his own personal demons. If he had confessed to his wife that he did commit lechery then she would have understood that he accepted it and she wouldn't have been so afraid to tell the court he did it. If she had told the court it would discredit Abigail and break the girls trust in her, bringing the trials to an end.
Another action that could have stopped the witch trials was if John had not failed to convince Mary Warden to confess the truth at all circumstances. If John Proctor had changed his actions from threatening to a calm re-assuring judgment, he would have had a better chance at convincing Mary Warden to go through with her confession. The combinations of stress caused by him, stress caused by the court, stress caused by the other girls, stress under the judgment of God, stress caused by the fear of death, and stress caused by the fear of Abigail's claims of her being a witch overwhelmed her and caused her to break down. We can hypothesize that John calmly explained to her the irrationality of the trials due to the conflict between the church governed state and the direct defiance of the commandment "Thou shall not kill" and there was good chance that if she stood up for what was right that she would be cleared of any charges and be viewed as a hero. The amount of stress on her would greatly reduce and she would have had more credibility to the judge while also retaining the ability to stand up for what she believes in. We could assume that would have a grand effect on ending the trials.
Fear is defined as a distasteful sensation of unease or trepidation caused by the occurrence or expectation of danger. A famous man once said "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself', but do we really believe that. John Proctor believed it. Throughout the play John's life is governed by fear. His fears of losing his wife, losing his good name, losing his pride to the charges of lechery, combined along with the fear of his wife's death clouding his judgment causing Mary Warren to become overwhelmed, had massive affects on the Salem witch trials and the lives of at the very least nineteen people and their families. If John had stepped up instead of living in fear of his pride and dignity over the course of the trials, he could have saved the lives of the innocent people murdered in ignorance. We can all learn at least one thing from John Proctor. Those who allow themselves to be governed by fear live lives of torment and regret while causing others the same pain. Those who learn to overcome their fears as John did in the end have massive weights lifted off of their shoulders, and bring great change.