In Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible, one of the most influential characters is John Proctor. He is a well looked upon, leader of the town that soon becomes caught up in the witchcraft trials of Salem Village. Proctor, a principal character, plays a key role throughout the play, being directly and indirectly involved in the affairs of the trials. Unlike other characters, Proctor gradually changes through the course of the play. These changes can be seen in his progression through several different personality shifts.
John Proctor is unquestionably a dynamic character. However, his personality change is gradual over the entirety of the play. In the beginning of the play, Proctor has a strong-willed personality that exudes leadership and authority. This can be seen in the first scene as not only his words but physical stature shows his confidence. Proctor's words play an important role in showing the reader his strong personality as he passionately expresses his thoughts to his fellow Puritans. He does not immediately look to witchcraft to explain these incidents with the children. He does not quail in fear at expressing his opinions on the events that transpire in the first scene. This is seen when he says to Putnam, "You cannot command Mr. Parris. We vote by name in this society, not by acreage."(pg 1249) This shows that Proctor is not afraid to speak his thoughts even before a wealthier or more influential man. This shows Proctor's mental strength of will to speak against a person, many others, including Reverend Parris, would not openly question. Proctor's strength is also shown in the first act when he talks to Parris about what he is preaching. While others are close-mouthed and will not protest Parris" actions because of his position, Proctor expresses his misgivings with Parris" sermons. This shows Proctor's boldness and strong will. These traits are seen not only in Proctor's words and actions but also in the words of others describing Proctor.