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Who Was To Blame For The Death Of John Proctor?

There are many characters in “The Crucible” that is partly to blame for the death of John Proctor. Many of the audience could even interpret each one of the characters in the play, as partly responsible for one or several of their actions. However, a few key characters could be seen as the sole causes for Proctor’s death. Firstly I will discuss how Mary Warren is to blame for the death of John Proctor. Many aspects of Mary’s character contribute to the reasons behind her actions and therefore why she is partly responsible. Mary Warren is not an intelligent character and this can be seen by the fact that she saw the accusations of witchcraft as “only a sport” page 86. This could be interpreted as a naivety for not realizing the sometimes fatal consequences of her actions. Some may also see elements of cowardice within Mary’s character, a passage which demonstrates this is on page 95 of the play, “Don’t touch me!” when Mary is about to re-confirm all the accused’s innocence yet suddenly changes her mind after seeing the threat of her own accusation by Abigail, who claims to see Mary in the form of a bird.

This cowardice then guides me onto the main reason why Mary Warren is responsible for Proctor’s death. “Don’t touch me” page 95 leads to Mary’s accusation of John Proctor to take away the pressure on her for being an apparent witch, meaning it is brought on by cowardice. Not only is this an obvious reason for Proctor’s death, but one could suggest that no one else in Salem would’ve ever accused Proctor of witchcraft. “Respected, if not feared in Salem” page 16 evokes this thought. Mary’s accusation of Proctor also expresses her deep fear of Abigail as previously shown in the dialogue on page 14, when Abigail threatens to kill the girls “at the dark of some terrible night” if they breathe a word of what they did in the forest.

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Next, I will examine why Reverend Samuel Parris is to blame for John Proctors’ death. From the moment that Parris is introduced into the play, the audience sees him making a vigil with his inert daughter lying on the bed. This illustrates his deep religious trust. Due to this, some may see that Parris had not a doubt in his mind that the cries of witches were nothing but the truth. In that way, he could be seen as innocent and selfless, yet many see other instances in the play to completely contradict this. “He felt insulted if someone rose to shut the door without asking his permission first,” said about Parris on page 1, displays how Parris only truly liked those who “followed the rules”, this advances to the initial thought that Parris never liked Proctor from the beginning as the narrative passage then goes on to state, “John Proctor would rebel against”, exemplifying Proctor as the epitome of depravity in the eyes of Parris.

This hatred for Proctor could be blamed for his death because of Parris’s never-ending suspicion of him. “Beware of this man your Excellency, this man is mischief” conveys this. Moreover, some may see the main reason why Parris is to blame for Proctor’s death, is that he coaxed Mary Warren to elaborate on her story of how Proctor was a witch. This is displayed by, “The Devil’s book? He comes with a book?” In addition to this Parris was also insistent of Proctor writing a confession for the village to see, “Proctor, the village must have proof that-” which lead to Proctor tearing up his primary confession of witchcraft and therefore signing himself to be hung. Another character that holds the blame for the death of John Proctor is Abigail Williams. Some may say that Abigail is the main blame-holder for the death of Proctor, as she brought about the accusations of witchcraft in the first place. “I never called him. Tituba, Tituba…” reveals this, as this is the moment that Abigail accuses Tituba of trafficking with the Devil. If it wasn’t for Abigail, some of the audience could say that the town would not have gone into pandemonium and Mary would not have accused John.

Another reason why Abigail is responsible for John’s death is that she accused Elizabeth, John’s wife, of witchcraft. This is shown by “and she (Abigail) charges me?” Said Elizabeth when she is accused. It is easy for one to see that if this was not done, John would not have gone to the court in the first place to give evidence against the girls. This can be seen by, “She told it to me in a room alone, I have no proof for it.” This is said by John when he is contemplating telling the caught that Abigail had told him it had naught to do with witchcraft and some may demystify this as John doubting whether he’d go to court unless it was for a great need, close to home. Nevertheless, I, as an audience member, would not see Abigail as purposefully causing John Proctors’ death; this was unveiled in my mind by a number of things; however, I am only going to discuss one.

This is that Abigail was obviously interested romantically in Proctor, “Give me a word John, a soft word,” exhibits my point as it illustrates that Abigail craves Johns’s affection. Hence, one may say, she would surely not want her love interest to die. This leads to the bigger picture that many of the audience may see all of Abigail’s actions as a ploy to “win” John for herself. This is suggested by the fact that the second to last, and the only last planned one of her accusings was of Elizabeth Proctor, John’s wife. Lastly, John Proctor himself was greatly responsible for his own death. To begin, some could argue that there was actually no need to go to court to argue people’s innocence in the first place, as his wife, Elizabeth, was going to be freed anyway due to her being pregnant. “And if she is showing her natural signs, she will be living another year,” proves this.

On the other hand, several audience members may sympathize with John for arguing his case despite this, this could be due to them respecting Proctor for putting his own name on the line to help his friends, whom he is sure are innocent, this can be seen by, “Will you drop this charge?” “I think I can not,” said Proctor to Danforth after being told that Elizabeth would live even if his friends wouldn’t. Another way in which Proctor is to blame for his own death is that it was his own adulterous ways that lead Abigail to begin to accuse people of witchcraft in order to get rid of his wife. The audience can be sure that Proctor did in fact have an affair with Abigail by numerous instances within the play. A few are, “Abby will charge lechery on you Mr. Proctor!” also more strongly the scene between Proctor and Elizabeth, “I should have roared you down when you first told me your suspicion, but I wilted, and like a Christian, I confessed.” And lastly, “Abby, you’ll put it out of mind; I’ll not be coming for you anymore.”

An additional point as to why he is responsible for his death is that in the last scene, he could have survived if he agreed to write a confession for all the village to see, however wanted to protect his name. So, in one of the greatest human flaws pride, in some people’s opinion, or in one of the greatest human advantages truth, he tore up his confession and therefore was hung. This is shown by Proctor’s dialogue beginning, “Because it is my name! Because I can not have another in my life!” In conclusion, in my opinion, most people would see John Proctor most to blame for his own death, due to him, in the end, having the direct choice of a life in shame, or death in glory, with his guilt, repaid, and him picking death. However, admittedly, the other characters mentioned, Abigail, Mary, and Parris all also had an almost equal share in his blame.

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Who Was To Blame For The Death Of John Proctor?. (2021, Apr 13). Retrieved May 11, 2021, from