Proctor Exam (Take 2, a rebuttal)

John Proctor was a god-fearing man of good reputation. He had a problem with a young town girl which scars his high moral fiber. But in the panic-stricken town of Salem, he was accused of witchery. If he "confessed" to the crime, he would be allowed to live, but if he did not, the gallows were in his future. Believing he was doing the right thing, Proctor took his punishment without bending to the court's will. In the end of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, John Proctor stays true to the character he has become, of which is more honest, true, loving, and virtuous then the John Proctor at the beginning of the play.

Salem was a puritanical and fervently religious town in Proctor's time. The town was indeed a theocracy, the government of the town used the Bible as the highest authority. The Bible says selling one's soul to the Devil is a horrible deed. John was wrongfully accused of witchery, he was then faced with a choice: admit witchery and stay alive, or hold his tongue and be executed. He chose to not lie to the court, thus sentenced his death. He did not commit suicide. He told the truth and others killed him. Within the realms of his character there was no way he could have chosen differently. At the end of the play he is enlightened and humbled. Because of his humility he would not lie any longer, he had kept the village girl a secret, nor would he live to the standards of those that were wrong. God isn't flexible, especially in the realms of puritanical beliefs. To Puritans God is black and white, set in stone. Hale's desire for John to live a lie is example of his unworthiness and his shortcomings. Hale attempted to reason with the wrong person, he didn't stop the skewed and sacrilegious trial. They were hanging him for witchery, a crime he did not commit. Up in heaven the puritanical god is smiling at him as he dies.

Because this is a story one cannot read too much into information not given. An exact time within the realms of the play is not set. Courts being overthrown isn't mentioned. An audience member with no outside information wouldn't know these things they are not part of the story. The general populace didn't have it's sanity. If this story were not a tragedy then John would have led the overthrowing of the court. If he would have stayed alive he would have lied to the court, to god, and (perhaps most importantly) to his wife, whom he finally learned to honor. John Proctor's death shows that he respects the church, he respects god's laws, and he respects himself. He was a saint.