At the start of the lay in Act One we learn that Proctor and Abigail, a girl who used to be one of Proctor’s servants, have had an affair. We acquire this knowledge when Abigail asks John to give her “A soft word. ” And he replies by saying “No, no Baby. That’s done with. ” As if to imply that their affair is over and he is over her now. His scandalous affair displays that Proctor does not start the play with his essential goodness for he has committed adultery with Abigail.
By starting the play without the complete amount of goodness, John Proctors hope of becoming a good man look rather slight. Act Two begins with Proctor ND his wife Elizabeth in their house together. The stage directions say that he is “not quite pleased” with the food in the pot and he meddles with it. This secretive behavior of messing with the food Elizabeth has prepared allows us to see that he and Elizabeth are not getting on as well as they might. It is not until later on when John and Elizabeth are talking and Proctor says “Oh, Elizabeth, your justice would freeze beer! We can learn from this that Elizabeth does not fully forgive John for committing adultery but explains the strained, small talk conversation and her frosty answers towards Johns pleads for her mercy beforehand. We know that John disagrees with the witch trials and thinks they are bogus. His reaction each time the witch trials are mentioned is in a negative and pessimistic fashion. When Elizabeth is taken away because she has been accused of being a witch by Abigail, Proctor becomes more involved with the witch trials as he wants to save his wife.
Just the notion of this idea shows how Proctors goodness is increasing. When he and Mary Warren go to court to try and save Elizabeth and reveal that the girls are liars, although their strategy is half wishful thinking it is when Elizabeth is questioned during the hearing in Act three and tries to protect Proctor by not admitting that he has committed adultery with Abigail that Proctors goodness is tested. Earlier he had confessed publicly in the hearing that he had had an affair with Baby and this was a very hard for him and tested his priorities.
The hearing allows us to see that John priorities his wife over Abigail and that he is over their petty relationship completely. This act restores more of his lost goodness but it is not until the end of ACTA that John Proctor finds his essential goodness and reinstates it. At the end Of Act Three Mary Warren cracks under the pressure of her “friends” and accuses Proctor f being “the Devil’s man”. Proctor is kept under lock and key after this.
The night before the hangings Mr. Hale is eager to make as many people as possible to confess as he has seen that the court is corrupt with Abigail lies and Detonator’s constant right judgment to all accusations. Hale urges Elizabeth to try and persuade Proctor to confess and she does so willingly and Proctor agrees to confess but Elizabeth does not tell Proctor to do so, she simply allows him to decide for himself. She feels that she has judged him enough and that it is God who will judge him in the end. When Proctor is aced with Rebecca Nurse who has not confessed and is to be hung, Proctor is filled with shame.
He signs the confession and tears it up when he is told it will be publicly announced, and he also realizes that it is not the people of the town who he wants to judge him but God, and his name is what will be left for his sons and he does not want this to be dishonored because of his cowardliness. “l have given you my soul, leave me my name! ” Proctor rips up the confession and goes to die with Rebecca Nurse. As the Drummond commences and the nooses are tightened over the victims necks, Elizabeth says “He have his goodness now, God forbid I take it from him! “.
This quote sums up how Elizabeth felt and how Proctor felt. He didn’t Want to go through with the confession because it denounced his goodness, and to John Proctor, goodness is a very important thing to have. Overall John Proctors goodness increases on an escalating scale throughout the play. Even though John Proctor is the one who burns in the crucible, he comes out a purer person. By choosing to die and not confess, Proctor is redeemed and his flawed character is leveled out by his honorable and noble death to save not only himself, but his name and with this, his dignity.