Character Analysis of John Proctor The consequences of shirking accountability for ones actions are depicted through the tribulations John Proctor faced, in Arthur Miller's, The Crucible. Although John reluctantly became involved in the Salem witch trials, his initial silence proved to be the downfall of not only himself, but of his fellow townspeople as well. John Proctor remained silent for one reason, and that was to protect himself. As a result of his self-serving desires to avoid the consequences of his actions, innocent citizens were put to death. Survival is one of the primal instincts of human nature.
It is programmed into human beings at birth, and cannot be easily masked. No matter how morally wrong the dilemma is, the primal instinct of survival challenges the ethical alternative in most cases. John Proctor falls victim to instinct, and instead of saving the members of his community he chooses to save his own self-image. This human weakness proves to be John Proctor's tragic character flaw. It not only leads to his demise, but to the loss of many innocent lives as well. Survival may be one of the natural instincts in human beings, but it can and sometimes will be overcome by other powerful emotions.
John's initial struggle for survival is suppressed by his overwhelming love for his wife. He becomes involved when his wife's name is mentioned in court, and her life becomes endangered. John does a complete turn around on his perspective of the situation. He goes from being completely isolated, to attempting to take control of the situation.
However, his initial failure to do the right thing from the start caused this plan to fail. If he had been faithful to his wife in the first place, this could have all been avoided. It is ironic that he is put to death because of his love and loyalty to his wife. When in actuality, it is his initial betrayal that causes the conflict in the first place.
If he had not committed the initial crime of lechery, he would have had no problems focusing much-needed light on the crises. John Proctor's character is tragically flawed with inconsistency and the fragility of all humans. John Proctors decision to involve himself with the trials may have saved the life of his wife, but his failure to react in a timely manner caused his death and the death of others. If he had brought this crucial information to light earlier, it might have saved them all. This tragedy just goes to show how important being loyal and taking responsibility for your actions can be. Through John Proctor's experiences we can all re-learn the valuable lesson of doing the right thing regardless of the consequences..