Who is the Protagonist in the Crucible? Internal Struggles of John Proctor

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Protagonist’s Introduction: Who is John Proctor in “The Crucible”?

“The Crucible,” written by Arthur Miller in 1952, is a story about witch trials that take place in Salem when young girls claim to see people from their town “walking with the devil” in order to maintain their good image and seek revenge on others. One of the main characters of this story is John Proctor, a farmer who recently had an affair with one of the accused girls, Abigail Williams. Throughout the play, John struggles with the guilt he feels from this affair and the feelings he still has for Abigail, but he will not succumb out of respect for his wife.

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The Protagonist’s Internal Struggle: John Proctor’s Integrity

John is portrayed as a strong-willed and moral character, but we soon figure out that he feels a sense of lost integrity and hates himself for his immoral actions. John’s need to regain his integrity is what leads him to become the protagonist in this story, in which he strives to save his wife, and the other people convicted of witchcraft, from being killed.

Who is the Protagonist in The Crucible: John Proctor’s Moral Conflict

One of the central conflicts in this play is John Proctor’s internal struggle with himself, in which he fights to realize the true meaning of being moral and good. John’s determination to prove his morality is what leads him to seek to save the wrongly convicted people of Salem. In act three, John’s integrity begins to be reclaimed when he is informed of Elizabeth’s pregnancy and told that her life will be spared for about a year; Danforth then says, “Come now. You say your only purpose is to save your wife. Good, then, she is saved at least this year, and a year is long. What say you, sir? It is done now. Will you drop this charge?” Proctor replies that he cannot drop this charge because his friends’ wives are also being accused and will be killed; this demonstrates John’s motives to save the wrongly convicted and advances the conflict that John himself is struggling with his own standards of morality and trying to gain back his integrity.

The Protagonist’s Realization: Defining Goodness in “The Crucible”

Goodness is a major theme displayed in “The Crucible,” and almost every character struggles with this being because, in their religion, you must be good in the eyes of God, and the people of the town, in order to be accepted. John endeavors with the meaning of goodness the most in the story; he sees through the lies of the accusers and even goes to drastic lengths by exposing his own misdoings in order to prove that Abigail is a lair and save the misaccused. He finally realizes that the true meaning of goodness is being truthful and helping others when they are helpless. While the other convicted people of the town succumb to the pressure and admit that they were involved in witchcraft, John denies it at all costs in order to prove to himself that he is a good man. In the last act, we see John contemplating whether he should lie and save his life or be truthful and die an honorable death; he is persuaded by others to lie and ends up signing a false confession but ultimately rips it up when he realizes that to be good he must be honest to himself.


  1. Miller, Arthur. (1952). The Crucible. Penguin Classics.
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Who is the Protagonist in The Crucible? Internal Struggles of John Proctor. (2023, Aug 02). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/who-is-the-protagonist-in-the-crucible-internal-struggles-of-john-proctor/