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John Proctor, John Proctor as the play’s tragic hero. Honest, upright, and blunt-spoken, Proctor is a good man, but one with a secret, fatal flaw. His lust for Abigail Williams led to their affair, and created Abigail’s jealousy of his wife, Elizabeth, which sets the entire witch hysteria in motion.
Abigail is the least complex. She is clearly the villain of the play, more so than Parris or Danforth: she tells lies, manipulates her friends and the entire town, and eventually sends nineteen innocent people to their deaths. Throughout the hysteria, Abigail’s motivations never seem more complex than simple jealousy and a desire to have revenge on Elizabeth Proctor.
Elizabeth is a strong character whose strengths are perhaps not too apparent at first. Initially she appears as little more than a once-betrayed and now perpetually-suspicious wife, questioning her husband's every move. She also forms a contrast with the fiery, feisty Abigail in that she is dutiful, morally scrupulous, and maybe, just a little dull.
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