How Has Proctor Changed Since the Beginning of the Play?


Hello Reader nawafnet,

In Arthur Miller’s 1953 play, “The Crucible,” John Proctor is the protagonist and is known for his strong-willed personality. Throughout the play, a variety of events result in Proctor changing from a passive character to an active one. This article aims to analyze and examine how John Proctor has changed since the beginning of the play.

John Proctor’s character can be defined as a man who has made mistakes in the past but is looking to redeem himself. He is a wealthy farmer with a strong sense of morality who is determined to do the right thing regardless of the consequences. In contrast to his initial passive nature, he ultimately chooses to act in the face of injustice.

This analysis will examine John Proctor’s transformation- the strengths and weaknesses of his evolution, how he learns from his past mistakes and changes for the better and his motivations for his actions.

Let’s dive into discovering how John Proctor has evolved in the play since the beginning.

how has proctor changed since the beginning of the play

How Has Proctor Changed Since the Beginning of the Play?

Proctor’s Beginning

John Proctor had a rocky start. At the beginning of the play, he was seen as a man with a lot of baggage like his wife Elizabeth’s poor health and his extramarital affair with Abigail Williams. Abigail, a former servant, now plays a part in the accusations against innocent people in Salem.

From the beginning, it was clear that John Proctor had a troubled past. He was an adulterer who had confessed to his wife, Elizabeth, previously, and although she had forgiven him, he had not forgiven himself for being unfaithful. He was living in guilt and could hardly stand up for what was right.

Proctor’s Change

Despite his earlier flaws, Proctor showed a significant change in his character from the middle of the play. He gradually realized the severity of the situation in Salem, where innocent people were wrongly accused, and this sparked a desire within him to act.

Proctor’s first display of his newfound strength came when he was asked to sign Confession about witchcraft. He refused to sign and confess falsely to something that he had not done, despite the town’s overwhelming intolerance of those individuals identified as witches. The change in Proctor redefined his character and he became a role model.

Over the course of the play, Proctor’s willingness to fight against the injustice and stand up for what was right became his defining trait, and it was this defiance that ultimately cost him his life.

The Strengths and Weaknesses of Proctor’s Change:


One of the most significant strengths of Proctor’s change was his steadfast commitment to doing the right thing. In doing so, he became a model of conviction and a symbol of individual freedom. His unwavering beliefs were what set him apart from the other characters in the play who were easily swayed by fear.

Additionally, his decision to stay true to himself and his principles in the face of adversity is another strength of Proctor’s evolution. He refused to confess to a crime he had not committed, even in the face of death, stating that he would rather die than be remembered as a liar.


One of the weaknesses of Proctor’s change was his self-doubt. Proctor struggled with his own feelings of guilt and shame, and this often prevented him from taking decisive action. He believed that he was not worthy of redemption and struggled to see himself as a moral leader.

Another weakness was his temper and pride. Proctor had a quick temper and a tendency to react impulsively. While this trait often helped him in seizing pivotal opportunities, it also caused him to act rashly at times and put himself and others in danger.

The Table

Beginning of the Play End of the Play
Passive Active
Guilt-Ridden Confident
Adulterous Faithful
Skeptical of Witchcraft Fighting against the Injustice of Witch Hunt

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why did Proctor change his mind?

Proctor is an inflexible man who places a high priority on his reputation and his integrity. As the play evolves, he becomes more and more agitated with the corruption of the witch-hunt that is taking place. He ultimately chooses a heroic path that leads to his death.

2. What did Proctor learn from his past mistakes?

Proctor learned from his past mistakes that being honest is the only way to deal with the guilt. He realized his mistake of being unfaithful and felt guilty, which led him to seek his wife’s forgiveness. Proctor understands that integrity and honor are the only values that can save him from despair.

3. Was Proctor’s decision to die heroic?

Proctor’s decision to refuse signing confessing falsely was his ultimate act of heroism. He knew that if he signed the confession, his identity as an honest man would be lost. He chose to risk his life and die for the sake of his integrity and honor.

4. Was Proctor fearless?

Proctor was not fearless; he was filled with doubts and inner conflicts. However, his strong will allowed him to overcome his uncertainties and take action for what he believed in. Despite fear, he was able to rise up to the occasion when it mattered the most and fought for justice and fairness.

5. What was Proctor’s motivation for refusing to sign the confession?

Proctor’s primary motivation for refusing to sign the confession was his desire to maintain his integrity and moral compass. He chooses to be remembered as an honest man rather than a lying one. His willingness to sacrifice his life to secure his reputation and morals is what made him admirable.

6. Did Proctor get what he wanted in the end?

Proctor did not get what he wanted in the end. He died a tragic death, and his legacy only looked good in the eyes of those who admired him for his convictions. However, his death had a significant impact on the Salem community, and it affected the way people viewed the witch-hunt in the future.

7. Did Proctor change because of Abigail Williams?

Abigail Williams was one of the factors that played a role in Proctor’s change, but she was not the only one. The events that happened in the play, as well as Proctor’s interactions with the other characters, played a significant role in shaping his character’s evolution.


In conclusion, John Proctor’s journey in “The Crucible” highlights the themes of redemption, morality, and the dangers of group hysteria. Proctor’s transformation has been shown through his values and priorities, revealing the complexity of his character. His journey, flaws, and redemptions continue to be an ultimate story of self-discovery and moral growth.

This 30-paragraph article has discussed how John Proctor has changed since the beginning of the play, his strengths, and weaknesses, and provided a table and FAQs to assist the reader’s understanding. We hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new about John Proctor’s character and the play.

Thank you for reading and continue to cherish the art and literature that inspires us all!


The information in this article is based on our interpretation, and the facts presented may differ from other perspectives. The article is intended for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional or legal advice. We encourage readers to conduct their research and cross-check the information before making any decisions.

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