The Reasons Why John Proctor is a Bad Character in The Crucible, a Play by Arthur Miller

Last Updated: 19 Apr 2023
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It takes time and often patience to determine whether a person is good or bad. It is often easy to evaluate this by the personality and actions taken by the person. Often, people make assumptions about people before they know anything about them, but these assumptions are, more likely than not, incorrect. This scenario is seen in the play, The Crucible by Arthur Miller. In the play, each member of the audience has a different view regarding John Proctor. After looking at the evidence, it is obvious that Mr. John Proctor is not a good person due to his bad actions and being a bad Christian.

One reason John Proctor is a bad person is because of he does not demonstrate the values of a Christian. For example, when Proctor was in court he couldn't name off each of the Ten Commandments. Mr. Proctor had named nine of the Ten Commandments so far and when he got to the last one, Hale said to him, "You have said that twice, sir" (Miller Act 2).

John could only name a total of nine commandments, he had forgotten the one regarding adultery. Another reason that John Proctor wasn't a good Christian was demonstrated when Mr. Hale said to Proctor, "In the book of record that Mr. Parris keeps, I note that you are rarely in church on Sabbath Day" (Miller Act 2). Proctor's lack in attendance at church had caused him to drift away slowly from Christianity. This separation had also caused him to take bad actions in life along the way. John's bad reputation as a Christian makes him a bad person.

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Another reason John Proctor is seen as a bad person was because of the bad actions and decisions that he took in life. Mr. Proctor was not a loyal husband to his wife, Elizabeth, as he had an affair with a young girl named Abigail. To Abigail he said, "Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time...." (Miller Act 1). This demonstrated that he had feelings for her at one point in time while still married to Elizabeth.

The commandment about adultery is the only one he could not name, so it makes sense that he had an affair with her. Another bad action taken by John was when he was talking about threatening to kill Abigail in the forest and he said, "Vengeance is walking Salem" (Miller Act 2). This act of violence is not something that a good person would do. Proctor's bad intentions have, unfortunately, made him a bad person overall.

Although all of the evidence points to John Proctor being a bad person, some still believe that he is actually good. For example, John Proctor told Mary in court, "Do what is good, and no harm shall come to thee" (Miller Act 3). This may make John seem like a good person for telling Mary to confess, however John himself had been telling lies throughout the whole story. Proctor telling Mary to say what is true is very hypocritical of him because of all of the lying he did to the town and court on his own.

Another example of how people might see John Proctor as a good person was when he denied Abigail of continuing their affair by saying to her, "No, no Abby. That's done with" (Miller Act 1). Proctor denying Abigail would not have had to happen if he had been loyal to his wife, Elizabeth. The fact that John cheated on his wife to begin with demonstrates that he is not a good person because he not only broke a promise to his wife, but he broke one of the Ten Commandments. So even though some evidence may seem to make John Proctor look like a good man, the reasoning behind it all is what truly matters, and that does not demonstrate him as a good person.

All in all, it is obvious that John Proctor is not a good person because of his bad practices as a Christian and the actions he has taken. Although it may seem he is a good man, he really is not based off of all of his actions and wrong doings. The same goes for people today, if you demonstrate to others that you are a good person without having to hide anything, then you are an honestly good human being. However, if you have to try to fix all of your mistakes, similar to what John Proctor had to do, you will be seen as a bad person and people will have good reasoning for it.

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The Reasons Why John Proctor is a Bad Character in The Crucible, a Play by Arthur Miller. (2023, Apr 19). Retrieved from

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