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The Victim in a New Light

Uploaded by queencaitlyn on Feb 26, 2001

Upon first reading Aurthur Miller’s The Crucible, it would be easy to mistake Abigail Williams for the key player. When the story is examined, the antagonist is clearly John Proctor. Proctor was the soul inspiration for nearly every act following the dancing in the woods and the second half of the play is very dependant on him.

Though John Proctor appears very simple in the beginning of the play, the reader soon discovers there is much more motivating him. He is very confused and tormented by guilt and suspicion. He seduced a young girl and later seemed oblivious to the cause of her obsession with him. He manipulated everyone around him. Acting on his constant indecision and half-hearted whims destroyed everything around him and many of the other characters in the play. Although most of his influence occurred in the exposition, his misleading corruption of Abigail, and then his sudden rejection of her, drove her to the extremes expressed in The Crucible. The confused, love-struck Abigail was simply doing what she felt was necessary to possess the object of her affections.

Without John Proctor, the second half of the play would be non-existent. The girls would have tired of accusing witches and the plot would have died quickly. Abigail wouldn’t have had the dedication and passion in seeing Elizabeth accused. The trials would have never become as intense and concrete.

John Proctor is a well hidden and underlying antagonist. In the story he may appear to be a victim, and many side with him believing that Abigail should be faulted with the severity of the situation. But Abigail is the victim of lust and deceit. Proctor took advantage of her and when he saw it convenient, he attempted to dispose of her. The stubborn and dedicated Abigail had faith and pursued his hidden affections. She knew that beneath the cold façade he still kept the same desires as she. So is she really to blame for seeking it?

John Proctor is the only character in the play that causes his own downfall. He also causes the persecution of his own wife. If his infidelity had never occurred, there wouldn’t have been much of a story to tell. His actions before and in the middle of the play carried the plot. None of this suggests that he is a victim. If anything, he is a victim of his own internal conflicts...

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Uploaded by:   queencaitlyn

Date:   02/26/2001

Category:   The Crucible

Length:   2 pages (424 words)

Views:   2070

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