In The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, John Proctor shows his protagonist character by the respectable and honorable man he lives to be. In order to understand why John Proctor is the protagonist of the story, a definition of the word protagonist is indispensable. A protagonist is essentially the main character of a story, mostly known as the good character. The author spends most of his time on him, and usually the character changes or evolves during the course of the novel. The protagonist is frequently the hero of the novel and rivals with the minor ambitious character also known as the antagonist. With many complex characteristics, he is the center of the plot. Proctor has failed in his marriage, been accused of witchery, and concludes his life with forgiveness. Proctor exemplifies true heroism in his acts of clamorous times.
As Proctor’s truths of adultery are revealed, he settles these rumors with claiming that it is truthful. John Proctor is most likely the true protagonist. In the Crucible, Abigail Williams is portrayed as the antagonist of the allegory. Proctor cheats on his wife, Elizabeth, with Abigail while Elizabeth is ill. The story proceeds with Abigail becoming jealous and desiring John for herself. John shows that he regrets his affair by stating to Abigail, “I will cut my arms off before I ever reach for you again”. The focus of this sequence of events is how John deals with this situation. The Crucible literally means a hard test. His test is to overcome his troubles in his marriage and society. Society at this time is accusing its people of witchery. John works through his marriage problems and stumbles upon false accusations.
As Abigail creates chaos throughout the town, the idea of witches has spread too. Proctor is accused of being a witch. He was chosen to be accused by the author because he is the protagonist. The focus is mainly on his life and his family. He chooses the right thing as he goes through the trials. He admits to his adultery with Abigail to prove that she lies. Proctor realizes what he has to do to save his wife. He is a hero by admitting his wrong doings and confessing his sorrow for acting upon them. Proctor learns to forgive through these trials.
John knows how to represent his beliefs and stand up for his rights through forgiveness. After he admits to his sin, he is told to write on the church door for what he did. He refuses to after already admitting his actions. Proctor did not want to put his family to shame even more. “I cannot mount the gibbet like a saint. It is fraud. I’m not the man” (Act 4, pg.109) He knows that God knows and forgives but he shall not exploit it for others to judge and assume. Proctor concludes his life being content with the final decision he has made. He shows that he is a hero to his family and neighbors.
John Proctor shows many characteristics of a protagonist. He is a hero to many as he risks his life because he knows he believes in God. The story focuses on his marriage and the aftermath of the direction of his wrong doings. Often the novel will focus mainly on the protagonist’s personal situation. Proctor is the main character as Abigail Williams serves as antagonists throughout the story. She fights to break down Proctor and make him love her. Proctor prevails by doing the morally correct action by confessing and sticking to his beliefs. John Proctor displays qualities of a heroic protagonist.