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Proctor Epiphany

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Proctor Epiphany

Proctor, the protagonist and tragic hero of the play, undergoes many instances of peripatetic that helps him understand the meaning of a good reputation after he loses trace of who he is before his affair with Abigail. Trying to save his wife Elizabeth, he tries to convince Abigail that the affair is over but then denies any sexual activity that took place to prevent his own name to ruin. During Proctor's private encounter with Abigail at the beginning of the play he tells her "I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I'll reach for you again" (Miller, Act I, p. 22) showing guilt for his infidelity towards Elizabeth. Proctor not realizing that his statement was misinterpret by Abigail now thinking that if Elizabeth is out of the picture they can be together which led him to finally admitting the truth about the affair that took place. Later during the courtroom scene when Mary Warren fails to expose the girls, Proctor decides to confess his sins of adultery but instead he ruins Elizabeth own reputation indirectly. He declares to Danforth in court that Elizabeth "in her life, sir, she have never lied" (II, pg.103) which later sets her in a situation of bearing false witness in court. This situation is ironic because Elizabeth has given up her moral principles of honesty to protect her own husband's name, knowing that she will be condemn for it, turning her into a scapegoat due to Proctor destructive actions. Towards the end, Proctor is left with the choice of signing a fake confession but at the last moment he decides against it, marking a turning point as the tragic hero goes from fatal flaws to redeeming himself. After ripping his confession he cries out saying "because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies!" (IV, pg. 133), he shows the audience his realization of wrong doings. The irony here is instead of saving his own reputation by signing the confession, he saves it by ripping it, seeing that if he went through with his decision all those courageous acts of the others in jail would go to waste. The audience can relate to Proctor by feeling remorseful and empathetic because of his attempt to do the right thing and earn his wife's forgiveness. Through the entirety of the play, Proctor experiences ironic situations that transform him into a man recognizing the importance of a reputable reputation.



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