Undoing the Past: The Conversion of John Procter

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Arthur Miller's The Crucible contains one major theme, the idea of social responsibility. That is, the responsibility to ensure justice and prevent injustice. Miller puts John Procter through a sequence of steps in self-transformation; to realize what really mattered to him, his name or his friends, and to change into a socially responsible citizen of Salem. Arthur Miller uses the character of John Procter to depict the change of the deceitful man into a person of unparalleled valor who gave his life for his friends. At Procter’s initial manifestation he is socially irresponsible. He seeks to stay out of court affairs by denying Giles Corey's accusation that he doesn’t believe in witches. Instead of defending himself, he keeps his head down. Procter leaves Parris' house as soon as the investigation begins. He shows his higher regard for his good name rather than public good. "Elizabeth" I would go to Salem now, John—let you go tonight. Procter: I'll think on it." (53) Procter is hesitant to go to Salem because his affair could be revealed. He also refuses to own up to his actions and admit blame. Procter wants to overlook and hide the affair with Abigail. When Abigail reminds him of his sin, he denies it. "Abigail: Aye, but we did. Procter: Aye, but we did not." Procter also lies to Elizabeth about being alone with Abigail, and when he lets it slip he still defends himself. He then rants at Elizabeth when she accuses him, as though she is being unfair. He acts as though he did nothing wrong. John Procter did not live up to Puritan standards. It was a responsibility of a Puritan to follow certain regulations. He missed Church on Sundays many times in recent months. He also plows on Sundays, a very serious breach of the Ten Commandments. Worst of all, Procter fails to have all of his children baptized. This was mandatory for Puritans as

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