‘The Crucible‘ is filled with complicated and sometimes frustrating characters, many of whom are only concerned with bettering their own position in the town of Salem. Sadly, most of the characters are unable to see through the shame that is the witchcraft trials, and many others, nineteen total, lose their lives because of false accusations.
John Proctor is one of the most important characters in ‘The Crucible.’ He’s a local farmer and husband to Elizabeth Proctor. He can be quite stern but is generally a good man who cares about people.
His major character flaw becomes clear when he has an affair with Abigail Williams, a local woman. This incites Williams’ jealousy over Proctor’s wife, Elizabeth, and initiates the conflict at the heart of the play. Proctor can’t admit that he had an affair with Abigail due to his own misguided pride. He eventually admits, in a way, that he had an affair with Abigail, but things have already gone too far, and the time for honesty has passed.
Abigail Williams is the niece of Reverence Parris. She has an intimate relationship with John Proctor, which is the event around which the entire play pivots. She used to work as a servant in the Proctor household and acts as the villain of the play. She tells the entire town a series of lies that lead to the deaths of nineteen people. She wants revenge on Elizabeth Proctor, the wife of John Proctor, of whom she is incredibly jealous.
She is described as a beautiful and vivacious teenager who has an air of mystery surrounding her. Abigail has a strong desire for attention and power, which leads her to manipulate the other girls and create false accusations in order to gain more control. Abigail’s actions ultimately result in her own exile from Salem.
Reverend John Hale
Reverend John Hale is a minister from Beverly and an expert on witchcraft. He appears in the play in the first act after being called to Salem by Parris to help the community detect and deal with the evil that is believed to be occurring. He is a very pious and zealous man who believes in the power of God and prays to find justice. Initially, Hale finds evidence of witchcraft and the devil’s presence in Salem, but as time passes, he starts to doubt his own beliefs.
Eventually, he comes to realize that the whole witchcraft case is a fraud and that innocent people are being falsely accused; one of the most dramatic moments of the play happens in Act III. He stands up for the innocent and does everything he can to bring justice to those who have been wrongly accused. But it’s too late to really change things, and with Danforth in charge, there is no going back on what he really thought.
Elizabeth Proctor is another key character in ‘The Crucible‘ by Arthur Miller. She is the loyal and sometimes cold wife of John Proctor and a highly moral woman, a devout Christian who is very conscious of her reputation.
Elizabeth has a strength that stands out among the easy-to-convince members of her community. She stands up for what she believes in, even when it goes against social norms. Despite being accused of witchcraft, she never wavers from her principles and refuses to give false testimony in court. Her character represents how powerful faith can be and how important it is to uphold one’s beliefs despite pressure from others. She struggles to forgive her husband when the truth of his affair comes out.
She knows he made a mistake and is trying to make up for it, but by the end of the play isn’t ready to forgive him. Her strong character and unwavering moral code make her an admirable character in the story of ‘The Crucible.’
Reverend Parris is the church minister in the town of Salem. He is depicted as power-hungry and cold. He is also widely disliked by the town’s citizens. He calls Reverend John Hale to town in order to investigate the charges of witchcraft.
Parris is a relatively new minister, having arrived only three years before the start of the play. He is paranoid and suspicious of those around him and is obsessed with his reputation and social standing. He is also deeply concerned with material gain and attempts to use his position to further his own financial interests.
Parris’s extreme paranoia leads him to suspect witchcraft when Abigail and the other girls accuse several citizens of Salem of being witches. His religious fervor and fear of scandal make him desperate to prove that witchcraft is real and ultimately leads to the deaths of many innocent people.
Tituba is an enslaved woman owned by Reverend Parris. She’s from Barbados, and her role in the play is to provide insight into the events that take place, as well as to serve as a foil for Abigail Williams.
Tituba’s character is one of confusion and apprehension, and she is often confused by the accusations being made against her. She eventually confesses to witchcraft in an effort to protect herself from punishment. Her confession ultimately sets off a chain reaction which leads to a wave of hysteria and the subsequent witch-hunt.
Although Tituba plays an important role in the play, she does not have any real agency and is instead manipulated by the other characters in the play. This makes her a victim of circumstance, and her characterization serves as a reminder of the consequences of prejudice and superstition.
Wife to Francis Nurse. She is admired throughout Salem but falls victim to the witchcraft hysteria. Unlike some of the women who confess to save themselves, she refuses to.
A wealthy, influential man in Salem who is well-respected.
Judge Danforth is the deputy governor of Massachusetts. He judges the trials and tries to be honest in his decisions, although it doesn’t always seem that way to readers.
An older farmer from Salem whose wife is killed in the witchcraft trials.
An influential Salem citizen who used the trials to increase his wealth and buy up land belonging to other people.
Thomas’ wife. She believes her many children were murdered by witchcraft.
Ann and Thomas’ only surviving child.
A servant of the Proctors who tries to reveal the hoax behind the witchcraft trials. She’s timid and, at a point, admits to witchcraft before recanting.
Reverent Parris’ young daughter.
Corey’s wife who is convicted of witchcraft.
Who is the protagonist in The Crucible?
The protagonist of ‘The Crucible‘ ends up being John Proctor, despite what it may seem like in the first pages of the play. He is one of the only characters with any common sense and comes to realize that all accusations of witchcraft as false.
What is the main conflict in The Crucible?
The main conflict revolves around John Proctor trying to save his life and the lives of others after Abigail Williams stirs up the town’s belief in witches.
Who is the villain in The Crucible?
The villain is Abigail Williams, a young woman who used to work in the household of John Proctor and with whom he has an affair.
What themes are explored in The Crucible?
Some of the major themes in The Crucible include the dangers of mass hysteria and mob mentality, the consequences of intolerance and rigid adherence to dogma, the importance of individual conscience and personal integrity, and the corrupting influence of power.