Operation Assist-A-Student: What IS John Proctor Preoccupied With?

Just lately, my WordPress stats page has been turning up quite a few visitors from search engines using the phrase “What is John Proctor Preoccupied With“…I just had to know, so I googled that phrase myself and what do you know, the second post I ever made on this blog came up first in the google listings!

I find it rather humorous. Almost every day for the past couple of weeks, some poor schmuck- a student studying for a quiz, or working on an essay about The Crucible, I’ve no doubt- has stumbled over here looking for inspiration and answers, only to find extensive fan-girling for Richard Armitage! =)

Sorry, kids! My bad.


Proctor: I Really need to Get Some.

So! I thought I’d take a few minutes, here, and maybe help them out. We all know what I’m preoccupied with, but what IS John Proctor preoccupied with? Of course, the answer to this Google query depends on the context of the question, and which Act in Miller’s work we’re discussing. Since I don’t have it in me today to cover the deeper themes that Proctor must contemplate in the later Acts, I’ll stick with the surface-level preoccupations that I believe may be affecting John Proctor as the play opens. With helpful images for illustration…

Early on, one could argue that John, a virile man whose mistress has been ousted from his land and whose wife is yet cool toward him, might be preoccupied with those same thoughts that no doubt plague stallions, when breeding season is over. “The promise that a stallion gives a mare I gave that girl!”



“For twenty week he preach nothin’ but golden candlesticks until he had them!”

Alternatively, when his mind rises above his sex drive, maybe John Proctor is preoccupied with indignation over the shoddy preaching on the part of his pastor.

“Can you speak one minute without we land in Hell again?”

Let’s not forget Reverend Paris and all that grasping for wealth.

Pewter candlesticks are good enough for John Proctor.


Proctor was preoccupied with working the farm, and evidently locking horns with Putnam in land disputes. “I… I have once or twice plowed on Sunday.”

Or, how about his ongoing wrangling over property boundaries and acreage with nasty neighbors like Putnam?

“My lumber. From out my forest by the riverside!”

(And when he wasn’t plowing on Sunday, he was probably thinking of other kinds of plowing. I know I did, when he said that.)


“I mean to please you, Elizabeth.” Here, have a cow!

At home, poor John Proctor’s mind works feverishly to think of ways to restore himself to his wife’s good graces… and after much deliberation, he’s had one stroke of manly creativity he thinks might please her.

“If the crop is good I’ll buy George Jacobs’ heifer.”

Men. Sigh.



John Proctor, overwhelmed.

Once the ball gets rolling, our hero is about to have these base and arguably petty preoccupations swept away completely. With his wife now accused, her life and the life they’ve built together on the line, John Proctor finds himself suddenly faced with much weightier preoccupations… presenting a case that might restore reason to a court gone mad, facing his own demons, finding his honor again.

These weightier preoccupations I just don’t feel up to tackling today. Hint: Students, you will find other Richard Armitage bloggers that can, and do, tackle those deeper themes. Am I right, Servetus? =)

But if you’re looking for simplistic answers, I’m your gal. You ought to be able to take one or more thoughts here and run with it.


Oh yes he did!

P.S. Students: if you get the chance, do watch for The Crucible staged by The Old Vic starring Richard Armitage (of Thorin Oakenshield fame). Might be coming to theatres near you (unless you happen to live in North America), and it’s an extraordinary performance from the entire ensemble. Will also be available for download at Digital Theatre in 2015!

Oh, and there’s this. —>



  1. Servetus · November 9, 2014

    They shouldn’t crib info from me — my insights are not exactly in the mainstream of criticism 🙂


    • jholland · November 9, 2014

      LOL. Well, scratch that, then, Students.


  2. Helen · November 9, 2014

    LOL! I don’t know, I’d be quite happy if he offered me a heifer 😉 But then I do have a thing for cows 🙂


    • jholland · November 9, 2014

      Who am I kidding? I’d be first in line for any livestock gift JP thought might suit me! =)


  3. Servetus · November 9, 2014

    I was gonna say.


  4. jholland · November 9, 2014

    Speaking of stats… the stallion pic is getting all the click-love. Ladies. Tsk tsk. LOL


  5. obscura · November 9, 2014

    How funny…I get regular university traffic on my post about classical canons of sculptural proportion …and Richard Armitage 🙂 The day I see the reference show up in one of my students’ papers will be the ultimate collision of worlds!

    Liked by 2 people

    • jholland · November 9, 2014

      That would be too funny. I wonder, would it earn them extra scrutiny, or a high mark for sniffing out such a remarkable reference? =)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hariclea · November 9, 2014

    But Lizzy did like his idea of a gift, didn’t she, she said quite enthusiastically ‘ay, it would’ 🙂 Maybe because she really understood what he was trying to offer 🙂

    Great post as i very much suspect the ones googleing are the readers who struggle with the play a bit 😉 This should at least give them some pointers about how to approach it and have fun with it before it gets all too serious.


    • jholland · November 9, 2014

      I agree- it’s actually probably a pretty pleasing gift for a Puritan wife, though I can’t say it’s the most romantic notion I’ve ever heard. Lol. And yes, I would assume if they’re googling such a question, they’re at a loss. The idea of some hapless essay writer coming to my blog for a quick low-down on JP’s preoccupation and finding instead my rhapsodizing post about Richard just amused me no end. =)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hariclea · November 10, 2014

        🙂 i feel ya 🙂 bet it amused them too 🙂


  7. nba即時比分 · December 22, 2014

    Nice Blog, thanks for sharing this kind of information.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s