The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, is a modern tragedy about the Salem Witchcraft trials in 1692. Although the script for the play and the script for the movie remained practically the same, there was a slight addition to the movie’s ending. The play ends with John Proctor’s refusal to confess to witchcraft, while the movie adds the scene of his hanging. Although the movie’s additional scene doesn’t change the plot, it does enhance the conclusion. .
As John Proctor and the two others accused of witchcraft are taken to the gallows, the viewer is reminded of Jesus and the crucifixion with a merciless crowd following. Just like Jesus, Proctor too is about to be killed even though he is innocent. This symbolism invokes sympathy for John Proctor and the other innocent characters. Right before the characters are hanged, they recite the Lord’s Prayer in unison. This confirms that the “witches” are innocent because the Puritans believed that a person who associated with the devil would not have been able to recite scripture. The pitiless prosecutor, ignoring the character’s noble last words hangs John Proctor during the Lord’s Prayer. The audience is left with a feeling of disgust, injustice, and primarily, sympathy for John Proctor.
The major effect of the additional scene is the symbolism of John Proctor’s character. Although Miller may have intended Proctor to be seen as a Jesus figure in the last act of the play, the movie carries this analogy farther. Not only with the character’s journey to the gallows, but also with the order in which the characters are hanged. There are three “criminals”, just as there is in the Bible and John Proctor’s place is in the center, just as Jesus”. After John makes the decision to keep his name and die, he seems to humbly accept his death, just as Jesus did. .
The Crucible would be classified as a tragedy and John Proctor as the tragic hero regardless of whether or not the extra scene is considered.