Fear plays a major role in The Crucible and is the main reason why the village of Salem dealt with the witchcraft incidents so badly. Throughout the trials of the people living in Salem no evidence was found to convict anyone of witchcraft. Instead the word of a group of young girls was taken as the truth because nobody dared question people who had seen and encountered the devil so the idea that they girls were lying was not one that could be easily substantiated. This is because before the events of Salem it was rare for people to lie about issues of such magnitude because they were so scared of the possible repercussions. This meant that when Abigail Williams began the charade and started to lie for the first time that somebody was no longer afraid of the repercussions and considered themselves to be above one of the most fierce rules around. This is the focal point of The Crucible and it is from Abigail Williamsâ€™ inability to tell the truth or respect authority that the fear of others develops.
An example of this is the fear of John Proctor who is forced to be forever under the judgement and apprehension that Abigail will tarnish his good name because of his affair with her. This means that Abigail could ruin the life of a normally good man because of a single indiscretion that he made and that his wife was fully aware of. It is unlike John Proctor to be afraid of anyone in this way because he is usually physically and mentally a pillar of strength and an esteemed member of the community. This makes his fear more powerful as it is so out of character. The reason why he is so afraid of Abigail ruining his name is that he has an immense pride concerning his heritage and is generally a very proud man. If the rest of Salem were to find out about his lechery then he would go down in their estimations. In the commentary of John Proctor he is described as â€œeven-temperedâ€ and a man who is â€œnot easily ledâ€.