John Proctor follows the model of Arthur Miller’s tragic hero, which departs from the classical ideal of a great man of heroic proportions who is flawed. Instead Proctor is a common man who is flawed, as such in analysing him as immoral amoral or moral, we must explore his entire life.
Initially we are not encouraged to entertain ideals of Proctor as a truly moral man, his adultery and dismissal of the religious rites of his community place him as a renegade iconoclast. However, Proctor’s integrity is displayed in his commitment to rebuilding his relationship with his wife, his unwillingness to resume meetings with Abigail . These however are minor compared to the great moral ordeal which Proctor must face. The novel’s progression sees the very iconoclastic status that Proctor created or was subjected to, become his bane, as he finds himself incarcerated as a potential warlock.
This is the deciding moment, thus far Proctor’s behaviour has been iconoclastic and instinctive, but always erring on the side of his nature which is earthy, impassioned and yet somehow deeply sensitive. However his refusal to admit to being a warlock and thus to be pardoned is a deeply moral decision, which sees him again being the outsider refusing to lie in order to preserve freedom.
In this sense Proctor is a very moral man, a man of integrity, as above Proctor, is impassioned and impetuous, however his decision emerged from deep sensitive thought.
Thus in conclusion I am led to believe that Proctor’s nature is naturally and instincitvely moral, however each action prior to his execution must not be seen as wholly moral or immoral but rather as an expression of the complex nature of a common man, selfish and altruistic at once, cruel and sensitive in sync.
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