John is a man of strong moral beliefs, who is concerned only for the safety of his family and personal welfare. He does not care about the beliefs of any of the other people in the town and what his supervisor which is the Reverend, thinks either. After trying to avoid involvement in the witch trials he is later prosecuted for witchery and sentenced to hang. John tries to avoid any involvement in the Salem Witch trials. His reason for doing so is to protect his image because he is afraid he will be committed of adultery with Abigail Williams.
Following these events he tries to save everyone’s lives by admitting to this adultery and ends up losing the trial along with his life. He did have a chance to live but instead of signing his name to keep his life, he wanted to die honorably with his friends not without a name, a soul, and with guilt. “John Proctors decision to die is reasonable and believable”. Reverend Parris, the Salem minister and Proctors immediate supervisor, says “ there is either obedience or the church will burn like hell is burning.”
John, on the other hand, “has come to regard his self as a king of fraud,” as long as he remains obedient to authority which he can’t respect. In other words he believes that he can’t be his true self when he has to follow the rules of lie and not by his morals. He thinks there is too much mention of hell in God’s church and about the dangers to the community to implicit in all this talk of witch craft. He is caught in a web of dilemmas involving not only his fate but his wife, his friends, and the entire Salem community.
“John is the individual who must decide weather or not he will assert himself against an overbearing authoritarian government. ” “His loyalty to his own but his rebellion against the church really involves none but is own welfare, and that in no profound way. Although all this goes on in the end the community of Salem lies on his decision on weather to lie dishonorably or die honorably. John Proctor is looked upon as a respectable farmer, and as a individualist, he may be but he is still respected.
John does not respect the church especially when a reverend so corrupt is the superior. John Proctor is setup as the individual who is revolting form the restrictions of too much authority. He does not like “the smell of this authority. ” Many men were believed to be tempted by the Devil to do his bidding and they were thought of to be the enemy. “In Salem, the enemy is at least partially represented by Proctor, who is acting as an individual and is breaking away from the established authority. ” He is a threat to the community, and will be considered as being working with the Devil.
The one looked upon as a threat, ultimately, the central figure of drama, but still seen as a Christian is seen to be John Proctor. That is why he needs to show the people of Salem that he really does not have an alliance with the devil and that he will die not as the enemy but as a friend. He must show them he is and was committed to the society before it started to become corrupt. John showing he will not live with shame, he will live without it or die. He does not want to be remembered like that, he wants to be remembered and looked upon as “John Proctor.”
John has two choices, to commit himself to one side or the other. The two choices were to either live with lies, guilt, no name, and no soul or die for his friends and in an honorable and justifiable way. As he his handed the blank paper and pen to sign away his life he looks at his friends faces and reads their expressions like a book and somehow he reads that why give yourself away to the devil as a lie when you can die for what you believe in and with the people you love. He has to choose, his choice was to die which was a choice to commit himself to his friends and die honorable, and as a honest man.
He states that “I have three children,how may I teach them to walk like men in the world, and I sold my friends? ” He says if he is dishonorable to his friends then this would be stuck on his back along with his family’s, so if he was to choose to lie his kids would not look up to their own father as a role model and he would not be remembered as a friend but as a foe. They would think of him as a liar and not faithful to his friends and family. So this is why he chooses to die so he leaves this world with him being remembered as honorable not dishonorable not only to his family but to his friends.
“As a result of his involvement, John finds himself accused at being a witch. After being trialed and condemned to death, John refuses to confess and “give them the lie they want” because of his pride and stubbornness. ” John even though he doesn’t want to die for such a pathetic reason, he is faced with the obstacle of being completely against the other condemned witches, and by his confession, becoming partly responsible for the deaths of his friends. His choice was to die which was a choice and attempt to commit himself to his friends and die an honorable and honest man which made his death true and justifiable.