When Proctor talks to Parris he is very different, which is very likely to cause trouble for him later. He says to Parris, “You hardly ever mention God anymore. ” A stage direction reads “There is a shock among the others” which shows that this is a very shocking thing to say to someone who is considered so important in the village. By not only saying this does Proctor demonstrate a great lack of respect but also that he has no fear of others’ power.
For Proctor to make the decision as to who deserves his respect it means that he has a lot of authority himself.
Proctor uses aggressive, blunt language to make Parris look foolish. He later goes on to say ” Can you speak one minute without we land in hell again? I am sick of hell. ” He knows he is a sinner and is not afraid of hell which shows how brave he is. Proctor is not easily lead and is not scared of the power of society which is proved by his assertion “I like not the smell of this ‘authority’.
” He doesn’t follow the crowd but his own beliefs and is true to himself. I think that it is for those reasons that the audience at this point in the play can have real respect for him.
In Act two we meet Proctor’s wife and see their relationship and how they act around each other. Before Elizabeth enters, Miller shows in the stage direction Proctor tasting Elizabeth’s cooking and altering it.
He, “Takes a pinch of salt, and drops it into the pot. ” This tells us that he wants to make her happy as he still feels guilty about committing adultery. When they talk to each other they are very short, Proctor says “Are you well today? ” and Elizabeth replies “I am”. This reveals the awkwardness of the situation and their relationship which is also very well illustrated when Proctor “turns to her and watches her.
A sense of separation arises. ” When Proctor and Elizabeth argue it becomes clear that Elizabeth still has not forgiven him. By saying, “You will not judge me more, Elizabeth”, Proctor shows that he is tired of being judged by Elizabeth. The line is a command so he is again demonstrating his power by telling her what to do. He then goes on to be quite insulting to her and says, “Spare me! You forget nothin’ and forgive nothin’. Learn charity woman. ” This clearly shows that the way Elizabeth acts really hurts him and his pride is damaged by her constant suspicion.
Proctor is very aware that what he did was so wrong so he says, “Let you look sometime for the goodness in me, and judge me not. ” He is clearly consumed by guilt and needs her forgiveness so he can forgive himself. Proctor’s sheer desperation for Elizabeth’s forgiveness shows how deeply sorry he is and his true affection towards his wife. When Francis and Giles’ wives are taken they come to Proctor for help, “They take my wife… And his Rebecca! ” This emphasises the fact that Proctor is seen as a powerful and good man by the villagers.
When the worst possible happens, like their wives being taken, the first person Francis and Giles turn to for help and support is Proctor. Later, Elizabeth is arrested herself and Proctor says, “I will fall like an ocean on that court fear nothing, Elizabeth. ” These are very powerful words which would have a very great impact. They show Proctor’s true passion for his wife and his beliefs. A stage direction tells us Proctor is “ripping the warrant” for Elizabeth’s arrest. From an audience’s point of view this would be the most visually dramatic point in this scene.
It is an official document and Proctor has no trouble ripping it in two. Miller has made him do this to prove to us as the audience that Proctor is not only true to himself but also the ones he loves. By making this good quality so clear, Miller allows the audience to see him as a good character. It is also at this point that Elizabeth says to Proctor, “Oh, John, bring me soon! ” This shows that Elizabeth does still love her husband because she turns to him when she most needs help. She trusts that he is strong enough to be able to bring her home as she is comfortable enough to leave her fate in his hands.
Once Elizabeth is taken, Proctor reveals his inner guilt and turmoil by saying, “My wife will never die for me! ” He knows that Abigail accused his wife because she believes that if Elizabeth dies she, (Abigail) will be able to be with Proctor. Proctor knows that he is responsible for giving Abigail false hope and therefore Elizabeth’s arrest is fundamentally his fault. He loves Elizabeth so much and the thought of her dying for him is making him mad. His whole body language is angry and aggressive because of this. As he speaks to Mary Warren he is “grasping her by the throat as though he would strangle her”.
He is so violent because he clearly feels responsible for what has happened and is willing to go to any lengths to make it right. In Act three Proctor is told that his wife is pregnant and that she will be safe until the child is born, but still he carries on with his case against the children. When asked to drop the charges he refuses, “I-I think I cannot. ” This shows his determination to reveal the truth. He could not allow the lie to continue if it meant others suffered, regardless of whether those people were his wife or not.
When Proctor says, “I-I have no love for Parris. It is no secret. But God I surely love. ” he says it in front of many powerful people. It shows that he is not fazed by them but will continue to fight for the truth. Miller does however show Proctor’s humility through the use of a stammer. Proctor stands up to Parris, Hale and Danforth as he believes he is morally superior. He says, “Aye God tells us that. But who tells us Rebecca Nurse murdered seven babies by sending her spirit on them? ” Proctor is mocking the men showing them how ridiculous what they are saying sounds.
By saying this Proctor is highlighting what a principled man he is and that his own views will never be swayed by those of others no matter how powerful they are or how many there may be. Having said this Proctor is still a sinner and as he speaks to the men on matters of religion he stammers, “I-I have once or twice ploughed on Sunday. ” This reveals his inner conflict as he is offended by his sin. As we approach the moment that Proctor confesses his sin Miller uses intense stage directions to build tension for the audience, “Without warning or hesitation, Proctor leaps at Abigail and, grabbing her by the hair pulls her to her feet.
” This would be very dramatic to watch and shows the real emotion of just how angry he is in Abigail and in himself. More stage directions are used by Miller when Proctor confesses his sin, “he has to clamp his jaw to keep from weeping. ” This allows the audience to understand how desperate and disgusted Proctor feels. He is so ashamed of what he has done that he is close to weeping. For a man as strong as Proctor to start weeping, we can see how broken this sin has made him. When Proctor confesses, “I have known her, sir. I have known her.
” real courage and strength is shown. He is giving away his name and respect to save his wife. It is after all his last chance to expose Abigail for the liar she is and in doing so save his wife and friends. This not only shows true love for them but also selflessness as he is willing to sacrifice his own name to save them. It also shows just how much he yearns for forgiveness as he is deeply regretful for what he has done. It takes a strong man to overcome his pride and admit such a shameful secret and this therefore allows the audience more respect for Proctor.
I think that as an audience this point in the play allows us to forgive Proctor for his sin because he has shown real proof of remorse. In Act four we can see that Proctor and Elizabeth’s relationship has clearly changed. Elizabeth shows forgiveness and love towards her husband when she says, “That speak goodness in you. ” She shows affection towards Proctor and goes on to say, “I have sins of my own to count. ” By admitting what she has done wrong she is taking away his shame. She now sees the goodness in him that he had asked for earlier in the play, however, it has come too late as proctor says, “My honesty is broke, I am not a good man.
” This shows that for Proctor now, his wife’s forgiveness alone is not enough to set him free of the blame he has inflicted upon himself. He can now never believe that he is a good man, and yet, all the evidence suggests he is. Proctor perceives himself as a sinner as do many of the characters in the play. However, as an audience we see him as a loyal, honest, good man even though he has broken a commandment and does not go to church regularly. This contrasts with other characters in the play like Parris, who clearly believe they are good even though all the evidence in the play would suggest that he is a weak, greedy and vengeful man.
It is this notion of what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ throughout the play that gives Proctor a confused distorted image of himself, which is proven when he says, “God in heaven what is John Proctor, what is John Proctor? ” He is still trying to work out what he is, which he has spent much of the play doing. Proctor shows his loyalty when he says, “No, no, I have signed it. You have seen me sign it. It is done! You have no need for this”. He will not let them take his confession paper as it will blacken all those who have already been hung.
This shows great support for his friends’ names. He could easily not care as they are already dead but he shows them great commitment and refuses to let them die in vain. One of the most emotive stage directions reads, “his breast heaving, his eyes staring, Proctor tears the paper and crumples it, and he is weeping in furry, but erect. ” This illustrates his feelings when he decides that he will choose death and honesty over life and lies. He is weeping out of fury and desperation as he knows this is his only option if he wants to do what is right.
His body is straight and erect showing that he has no fear of what will happen but will face his death as he believes this is what he must do to prove there is “some shred of goodness in John Proctor”. Proctor must die if he is ever to be at peace with himself and Elizabeth says, “He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him. ” This shows that Elizabeth realises that if Proctor lives he would live as a coward and a sinner. She knows that he would never be able to forgive himself and would have to live tortured by his own guilt. She loves him enough to give up her own happiness for his release.
Her forgiveness is no longer enough, he needs to forgive himself and he can only truly do that by dying. Her words are proof that she refuses to take away his goodness now that he has finally got it. Returning to the question, “God in heaven, what is John Proctor? ” I feel that he is a good character. He is a tragic hero because he has many positive traits to his personality as well as a darker side. This darker side is shown through his affair with Abigail Williams. His fatal flaw is a need for physical affection that eventually leads to his downfall.
His whole life is consumed by living with the secret of a mistake he will never forgive himself for. He resented his wife for not being able to forgive him. However, she saw, as he could not, that he was guilty of the same action, “John, it come to naught that I should forgive you, if you will not forgive yourself. ” she cautions. Finally Proctor is able to save his soul and wipe away his sins by dying. I feel that the audience will be able to empathise with the character of John Proctor better because of his flaw. He is only human and everyone makes mistakes, so it is therefore a lot easier to relate to someone who is not perfect.
We can forgive him for his sin because he shows genuine remorse and displays great love for his wife. He also demonstrates incredible courage by his willingness to die for his beliefs and ensure that his friends did not die in vain. In my opinion John Proctor is a good man whose life was destroyed by one mistake which set in motion the train of events which led to his execution. I admire the character of John Proctor because he is someone who always stood by his principles even when he was given the opportunity to save himself and denounce them.