The Crucible: character motivation and interaction

The Crucible: character motivation and interaction

Character Motivation in ‘The Crucible’

  • John Proctor: Proctor is a respected farmer who holds his reputation in high esteem. His driving force is to amend the mistakes he made in his past (especially, his affair with Abigail) and safeguard his wife Elizabeth and family from the escalating hysteria in Salem.

  • Abigail Williams: Abigail’s motivation lies in her desire for John Proctor and the influence she receieves after initiating the accusations of witchcraft. She has the ambition to replace Elizabeth as Proctor’s wife and control the town with her allegations.

  • Elizabeth Proctor: Fundamentally, Elizabeth is driven by her affection and loyalty towards her husband, John. Her sense of betrayal post-her awareness about his affair with Abigail leads to strain and suspicions of witchcraft.

  • Reverend Parris: Parris’s primary motivation is preserving his reputation and role as Salem’s minister. He promotes the witch trials because it fortifies his position in the society.

  • Mary Warren: Mary’s primary motivations are fear and the need to belong. Initially, she follows Abigail, but later under Proctor’s compulsion, she attempts to uncover Abigail’s dishonesty.

Character Interactions in ‘The Crucible’

  • John Proctor and Abigail Williams: Their past illicit affair generated tension and instigated the chain of events leading to the witch hunt. Their interaction showcases the themes of guilt, reputation, and deceit.

  • John Proctor and Elizabeth Proctor: Their tormented marriage is characterised by mutual distrust and reconciliation. Their interactions emphasise themes of forgiveness, redemption, and honesty.

  • Reverend Parris and Abigail Williams: Parris’s concern for his standing leads him to back Abigail’s accusations, indirectly causing a more severe witch hunt.

  • Mary Warren and John Proctor: The duelling loyalties to Proctor and Abigail put Mary in a stressful situation. Proctor tries to convince Mary to testify against Abigail, whereas Abigail coerces Mary to stay mum.

Remember, comprehension of character motivation and interaction is critical to interpreting the themes, plot progression and symbolism in the play!