1.1 "He is a sinner, a sinner not
only against the moral fashion
of the time, but against his own
vision of decent conduct."
1.2 "respected and even
feared in Salem"
Proctor's initial description creates a somewhat dual charater description as he is both respected and feared. That he is "respected" suggests that he is a fairly powerful man of good name and reputation. However, "feared" suggests that Proctor is also recognised as having a darker nature to his personality.
1.4 heroic but flawed
1.5 "He was the kind of man - powerful of
body, even-tempered and not easily led."
This description connotes a man of strength and solidarity, who possesses heroic qualities.
2.1 "sweated like a stallion"
Proctor's relationship with Abigail shows his weakness of temptation.
2.2 "We never
Proctor is dismissive of his sins. He does what is right by resisting Abigail but cannot admit what he has done. He may be so dismissive as he does not want to soil his good name.
2.3 "I will cut off my hand
before I'll ever reach
for you again."
Proctor is deeply regretful of what he has done and vows never to commit adultery again.
2.4 "The magistrate sits
in your heart that
Proctor is paranoid the Elizabeth is suspicious. However, Elizabeth tells Proctor that she does not judge him for his sins but he himself is unable to forgive himself for committing adultery.
Proctor is unable to forgive himself for his actions and cannot be freed of his guilt. In order for Proctor to do what is good and right, he must forgive himself his sins and he is the only person who can do this and move on with his life.
3.1 Proctor withholds
information from the
Proctor faulters in providing information to the court as he is sceptical that his lechery may be revealed, thereby soiling his good name. He allows the innocent to die rather than risking his sins being revealed. He does nothing to stop what he knows to be madness and, ultimately, when Proctor does what is right it is too late and he is therefore responsible for the hanging of several innocent people.
3.1.1 "God forbid you
keep that from the
3.1.2 "Why did you keep this?"
This question allows the audience to consider Proctor's motives for withholding information from the court.
3.2 Proctor attempts to
stop the court
3.2.1 "I will fall like an ocean on
This emphasises the force which Proctor is ready to engage in his attempt to save Elizabeth and overthrow the court. He crusades for justice and will battle for what is good and right.
3.2.2 "I have known her."
In his attempt to stop the court, Proctor reveals his lechery, thereby giving up his good name in order to do what is right and truthful. This is truly an act of selflessness as he soils his reputation to save others and in the name of justice. He forgets his selfish motives of maintaining reputation to save those condemned, which highlights his true heroic nature.
3.2.3 "We will burn together"
Proctor tries to highlight to the court it's flaws as well as admitting his own. He knows that he is not an innocent man yet now attempts to convince the court that they are also flawed and sinful. He knows that these comments will not benefit him, however, he says them in the name of truth, because he knows them to be right and fights to save the innocent.
3.3 "I have given you my soul;
leave me my name!"
Though Proctor has confessed to witchcraft, he is still reluctant to sign over his name. He values his reputation enormously and does not want his name soiled with witchcraft. Also, by signing a confession, Proctor is thereby condemning his fellow prisoners in order to save his own life while they give up theirs in the name of truth. Finally, Proctor refuses to confess as he now more concerned with personal integrity than public reputation. Also, a false admission would dishonour him and stain not only his public reputation, but his soul.
4.1 I cannot mount the
gibbet like a saint."
Proctor still does not consider himself worthy enough of dying an honest death and still considers himself a sinner. He believes that no harm is done by giving the court a false confession because he is already a tainted man. He remains unable to forgive himself his sins and does not think his soul pure enough to die with the others who are convicted.
4.2 "I speak my own sins; I
cannot judge another."
Despite confessing to the court, Proctor refuses to condemn others and thereby tainting their names.
4.3 "I do think I see some shred of
goodness in John Proctor."
Finally, Proctor is able to forgive himself for his sins and allows himself to die with dignity and in the cause of truth. By refusing to confess to witchcraft, Proctor does not soil the names of the others who have been condemned also and is able to strike a blow against the court, eventually bringing an end to the witch hunt hysteria.
Proctor's sacrifice not only demonstrates to the people of Salem that the court is corrupt, but also means a better life for Elizabeth and their children as they will not have to live with a 'soiled' name.
Proctor believes that by not giving up his personal integrity and by sacrificing himself to make a personal and religious stand, he may be redeemed for his previous sins and go to heaven. Through this, Proctor is able to be freed from his sins.
The use of third person here allows Proctor to say his own name: the name that is so important to him and that he has now, rather than soiled, cleared of its sins by sacrificing his life. Also, this allows Proctor to see how he may now be judged from anothers perspective.