John Proctor's attitude and perspective change drastically throughout the play The Crucible . At the beginning of the play, Proctor is curious about the rumors of witchcraft in Salem, but refuses to participate in the hysteria. When he meets alone with Abigail, their affair is revealed, and she tells him that the girls were simply messing around in the woods. In Act Two, John's cold relationship with his wife is portrayed, and Proctor becomes angry after speaking with Mary Warren about the court. When Elizabeth is taken away, John vows to return to Salem to save his wife's life. Proctor is now directly involved in the witch trials and argues on behalf of his wife. Proctor even displays his love for his wife by tarnishing his good name after he admits that he had an affair with Abigail. Unfortunately, Proctor is arrested and also put on trial for witchcraft after Elizabeth lies to court officials in order to protect her husband's reputation. While in prison, Proctor initially decides to save his life by giving a false confession. However, Proctor has a change of heart and courageously rips his confession papers, which will likely incite the citizens of Salem to riot against the court once he is hanged. Proctor goes from being a non-involved citizen, with a heavy conscience, to a redeemed, noble man at the center of the conflict. John Proctor begins the play as a broken sinner but atones for his sins by refusing to capitulate to the corrupt court.
John Proctor is a tormented individual. He believes his affair with Abigail irreparably damaged him in the eyes of God, his wife Elizabeth, and himself. True, Proctor did succumb to sin and commit adultery; however, he lacks the capacity to forgive himself. Unsurprisingly, his relationship with Elizabeth remains strained throughout the majority of the play. He resents Elizabeth because she cannot forgive him and trust him again, but he is guilty of the same thing. In fact, his own inability to forgive himself merely intensifies his reaction to Elizabeth's lack of forgiveness.