John Proctor: A Distinctive Hero


What defines a hero? Innocence, assertiveness, courtesy, honesty and altruism- these were the characteristics John Proctor showed in his biography and role depiction in the popular play he is known for.


Rummaging on articles about Proctor stirred my mind to investigate who is this hero, who was then allegedly charged as a witch. My findings brought me to a realisation that Proctor indeed is a champion despite accusations against him in Rebecca Brook’s article entitled “John Proctor: First Male Accused Witch”. I also discovered how Proctor served as a good example of a martyr who is also a hero in his ways as he was brought to life in the play “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller.


But first, who is he?


John Proctor was a noble farmer born on the 6th of October 1631 in Assington, England from mother, Martha Harper Proctor and father, John Proctor Sr. He was the first male accused witch in the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692.


Who will believe that a humble person like John became a victim of such a blasphemous title and consequently an unfair trial?


Rebecca Brooks wrote that it was winter when the witchcraft madness in Salem Village began. She further cited that Proctor, during that time, became a strong critic of the trials. He assertively spoke to the villagers that the bedevilled girls were impostors.


Truly, this signifies his heroism by being assertive of what he believes in.


In Brook’s article, she noted further that Proctor’s own witchcraft allegations came out after his wife, Elizabeth, was accused of witchcraft herself. Abigail Williams and Ann Putman, two of the many malingering girls, pointed their fingers to the couple. Proctor nonetheless courteously denied the accusations.


Despite being accused, he remained polite and straightforward. This was clearly described in Brooks article when she highlighted in the court records that when he was asked as to what he would say with the words against him and he replied “Dear Child, it is not so. There is another judgment, dear child.”


In Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible,” John Proctor was in the end depicted as an honest man despite his attempt to hide his mistake of having an affair to Abigail Williams, who is also his persecutor. He confessed to his wife his adultery.


After admitting the truth to his wife Elizabeth, John decided to give up his life amidst the trial. This is a sign of altruism.


In the play, Reverend Parris and Hale voiced “….for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor.”


Moreover, Parris and Hale in the play said, “He has his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him.”


In summary, John Proctor exemplified a unique picture of heroism by being innocent from the allegations against him on witchcraft, being assertive on what is on his mind, showing courtesy amidst accusations, choosing to be honest with his wife in the end and altruism by offering his life for a greater purpose.