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Act Four of the Crucible Essay


How does Miller present John Proctor as a heroic figure in Act 4 of ‘The Crucible’? Does the play have any relevance for us watching it today? A hero is ‘a person who is appreciated for having done something extremely brave or having actually achieved something terrific’ according to www.dictionary.co.uk. I also believe a hero is a person who doesn’t necessarily have to be of a ‘pure’ soul, who has actually never ever done anything wrong. For instance, in ‘The Crucible,’ a person like Rebecca Nurse who never ever did anything incorrect wasn’t depicted as a hero to us.

We see John Proctor’s actions as more heroic and they resemble Linford Christie’s actions (where he was implicated for taking drugs and now acts as a senior mentor for professional athletes) which a contemporary audience seeing it today would view as an equivalent, if a less major, circumstance.

Miller presents Proctor as a brave figure in Act Four of ‘The Crucible’ by John Proctor’s actions.

These include John declining to sign the document, which would save his life. However, at the exact same time it would indicate he would lie and Proctor would rather pass away than sign a document, which condemned him to dealing with the devil. I feel this shows John as a hero since he has not only done something extremely brave by giving his life, which people will admire, but since he has struggled through and done the best thing which will eventually lead to an end in the allegations of witchcraft in Salem. This part of the play is worthy of a lot of attention as it shows the best act of heroism in the play by Proctor. It likewise shows the most importance for an audience enjoying today, who would relate John’s example to their own lives.

In the earlier acts of the play Miller shows John Proctor resisting temptation from Abigail. The reader sees this as heroic since we know that John has currently had an affair and he does not wish to cheat again. The reader also knows that it is tough for John Proctor and when he does withstand Abagail the reader sees this as a brave action. The method other characters react to John Proctor likewise shows us that John is a hero.

Miller reveals other characters, for example Mary Warren, respecting him. The very first time Miller introduces John into the play we see how other characters respect his authority. ‘MARY WARREN leaps in shock.’ Mary was doing incorrect and Proctor discovered her. The reality that we see her jumping in scare demonstrates how she respects John’s authority. She admires him enough to feel ashamed of her wrong doing and a hero is somebody who is admired by other people.

In Act 4 Proctor knows he has made errors in the past and doesn’t think that individuals will see him as a hero if he is hung. ‘I can not install the gibbet like a saint. It is a fraud.’ By John stating this it shows he is not big-headed. The audience see conceit as an unheroic action. John Proctor states he refuses to affirm since he dislikes authority. ‘It is hard to provide a lie to canines.’ Miller makes John describe authority figures as dogs due to the fact that they are hanging individuals for inaccurate and false acusations. Proctor refuses to lie since he wants to stand up to a corrupt justice system. The audience sees this as a heroic action due to the fact that he is prepared to compromise himself in order to abolish the justice system in the future. For John to give his life it is the greatest act of bravery a man can do and we see this bravery as a noble action.

In this last act Miller recommends to us that John is carrying out actions with other individuals in mind rather than himself. If he confesses he needs to know if other people will be able to forgive him for lying. ‘What would you have me do?’ Proctor is thinking of admitting and he does not desire Elizabeth, or any other individual, to think badly about him for lying. This is due to the fact that he is feeling guilty. This guilt reveals human feelings and the audience sees this as something they can associate with in their daily life, since John is an individual like us.

Nevertheless, John leads by example and, although he is human, he is a role model who always tries to do the right thing even if it is challenging and might have effects for him. An earlier example of this is John trying to save Elizabeth in court by confessing his act of infidelity. ‘I have actually known her, sir.’ This is what makes him heroic for the audience as he attempts to do the ideal thing, for other individuals not simply him, when it is in some cases challenging since of the resulting consequences.

Another way in which we see John as brave is due to the fact that he physically tears up the confession slip. ‘PROCTOR tears the paper and crumples it.’ This action by Proctor is heroic because he is attempting to correct his mistakes. Proctor isn’t best however he tries to offset what he has done wrong in the past. Proctor does not want to go back to his old methods of doing wrong as he felt contrite and embarrassed of his affair with Abigail. The audience appreciates his attempt to correct his incorrect doing and in doing so Miller gets the audience’s respect for Proctor. Our affection for Proctor makes us relate John to being a hero due to the fact that by definition a hero is admired by other people because of their actions.

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