Character Analysis Of John Proctor By Arthur Miller

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John Proctor is a man of strict morals and is held in high regard by the community, but even he commits adultery, and yet he works to move past his shame rather than dwell on it. To begin, Proctor’s sin and shame becomes quickly apparent, as Arthur Miller includes it in his own analysis of the character. As each new character is introduced in the play, Miller takes time to write his own thoughts and feelings on the characters, and often times this gives the reader insight on what the character is internally feeling. Miller describes Proctor as, “a sinner, a sinner not only against the moral fashion of the time, but against his own vision of decent conduct . . . Proctor, respected and even feared in Salem, has come to regard himself as a kind …show more content…
But it is a whore’s vengeance, and you must see it; I set myself entirely in your hands, I know you must see it now” (Miller 110). Proctor, knowing that this was his only hope of saving his wife, confesses to his sin of adultery. By using phrases and words such as “dance with me on my wife’s grave!” and “whore’s vengeance” as well as his stage directions describing proctor’s state such as, “Angrily against himself, he turns away from the Governor for a moment. Then, as though to cry out is his only means of speech left” (Miller 110), Miller conveys a sense of desperation in Proctor which paints the picture of the internal struggle Proctor has with his sin and shame. Though Dimmesdale shares a similar internal struggle, Dimmesdale does not confess to benefit others. Dimmesdale is asked many times to confess to his sin, once indirectly by the reverend John Wilson and several times by his child Pearl, and yet he does not confess. It may be seen as selfish on Dimmesdale’s part, but really he is so obsessed with his sin that his shame is so great he would rather torture himself by keeping it secret rather than sharing it …show more content…
So, in realizing this, he two refuses to confess, but in doing so he gains something so much more. He finally can look at himself as a good man. Throughout the play Proctor struggled with the shame of his sin and learning to forgive himself, but he realizes that even though he may be a sinner, he can still do good. He finally moves past his shame and understands that he may have sinned, but this sin does not define him, that there is no need for shame to weigh down on him. Even Elizabeth remarks at this. Elizabeth is pleaded with to change John’s mind, but she professes, “[h]e have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!” (Miller 145). Dimmesdale, on the other hand, does not have this revelation. He believes he was rightfully tortured for his sin and that he was made to be an example for the people that sin was inescapable. He felt that he was the paradigm of sin, given to the people out of God’s mercy. Dimmesdale obsessed over his sin in every aspect of his being, including the moments leading to his death, whereas Proctor learned to forgive himself and ultimately free himself from his burden of

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