The Crucible: John Proctor and Arthur Miller's Theme: "Social Responsibility"

Abraham Kabazie
Mr. McGrath
The Crucible

John Proctor was a farmer with a wife and child. In the Crucible, he, along with his family and the rest of Salem, are engulfed in the witch trials. John and his wife, Elizabeth, become one of the many who are imprisoned by the court. He develops throughout the story as a person protecting the good of his name to conserving his character at his death. Proctor rips up the confession he has signed to preserve his social status. Social reputation is tremendously important in Salem’s theocracy. Public and private values are one and the same. In an environment where reputation plays such an important role, the fear of guilt by interaction of others becomes particularly spiteful. Focused on maintaining public reputation, the people of Salem must fear that the wrongdoings of friends will flaw their good names. John Proctor’s reputation is challenged on several occasions. His development is seen through the decisions he makes to confront these challenges. John Proctor becomes an outstanding characterization of Arthur Miller’s theme of social responsibility.
John Proctor contemplates prosecuting against Abigail when the trials are still young. The decision would put an end to the trials before they were heightened to a more serious level. His extramarital affair with Abigail would have to be revealed to prove that her accusations are of jealousy and not of factual evidence. John’s concern for protecting his name in the critical society of Salem holds him back from stopping the trials before they rose to a more serious level. John fulfills his personal social responsibility, but sacrifices the chance at protecting his family and neighbors that are affected by the trials.
John is confronted another time with a decision whether or not to reveal his affair. He is being questioned by Danforth in the courtroom. He calls Abigail a whore to stop a scene she and other girls are creating in the court to convince Mr....