Just who is John Proctor? Is he a real person, or the fictional character of Arthur Miller’s 1953 play? The answer is both! Of course, these John Proctor quotes come from The Crucible.
The character was inspired by the real John Proctor. He was a landowner in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Proctor’s father owned many properties and was one of the wealthiest residents in Ipswich.
The real John Proctor was married to Martha Giddens, with whom he had four children. However, only one survived past the age of five. He then married Elizabeth Thorndike, who was the daughter of the founder of Ipswich. He and Elizabeth had seven children. She died shortly after giving birth to their seventh child, and he married Elizabeth Bassett.
In the play, he is married to Elizabeth and the father of three sons. His character is very direct and other people both respect and fear him. In the play, he has an affair with Abigail, a former servant in their household. When Elizabeth finds out, she fires her and then slanders her name around town.
Keep reading through these John Proctor quotes to see what similarities lie in why John Proctor was accused of witchcraft.
Don’t forget to also check out our collection of The Crucible quotes about the Salem witch trials
John Proctor quotes to and about Abby from The Crucible
1. “Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I’ll ever reach for you again. Wipe it out of mind. We never touched Abby.” ― John Proctor
2. “A man may think God sleeps, but God sees everything. I know it now. I beg you, sir; I beg you—see her what she is… She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! And well she might, for I thought of her softly. God help me, I lusted and there is a promise in such sweat. But it is a whore’s vengeance…” ― John Proctor
3. “You are pulling Heaven down and raising up a whore!” ― John Proctor
John Proctor quotes to and about Elizabeth from The Crucible
4. “Spare me! You forget nothin’ and forgive nothin’. Learn charity, woman.” ― John Proctor
5. “I have gone tiptoe in this house all seven months since she is gone. I have not moved from there to there without I think to please you, and still, an everlasting funeral marches around your heart. I cannot speak but I am doubted, every moment judged for lies, as though I come into a court when I come into this house!” ― John Proctor
6. “But if she say she is pregnant, then she must be! That woman will never lie, Mr. Danforth.” ― John Proctor
7. “Oh, Elizabeth, your justice would freeze beer!” ― John Proctor
Powerful John Proctor quotes about sin, the power of a name, and life
8. “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” ― John Proctor
9. “I can. And there’s your first marvel, that I can. You have made your magic now, for now. I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs.” ― John Proctor
10. “I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another. I have no tongue for it.” ― John Proctor
11. “We vote by name in this society, not by acreage.” ― John Proctor
12. “I should have roared you down when first you told me your suspicion. But I wilted, and, like a Christian, I confessed. Confessed! Some dream I had must have mistaken you for God that day.” ― John Proctor
13. “Peace. It is a providence, and no great change; we are only what we always were, but naked now.” ― John Proctor
What did you learn from these John Proctor quotes?
Historically, charges were brought against Elizabeth, and when John defended her, several women claimed he had beaten them, threatened them, amongst other salacious claims. In the play, Abigail brings charges against Elizabeth for being scorned after the affair.
The real John Proctor was executed by hanging, while his wife gave birth in prison and was later freed. In the play, John is also executed because he refuses to confess and besmirch his name with lies.
Miller took some creative liberties with his characters. In reality, John Proctor was over 60 years old and Abigail was eleven. Miller reworked the ages so the affair could be worked into the plot.
He made John Proctor a 30-year-old man, and Abigail older. He also changed the profession of John from farmer to tavern owner. The play was remade into a movie in the 90s starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Joan Allen, and Winona Ryder.
Are you a fan of the movie? Leave some of your favorite John Proctor quotes and sayings in the comment section below!
December 21, 2021 7:00 AM EST