John is a man of strong moral conscience who slipped and had an affair with a young girl in town named Abigail, and who cannot forgive himself for it. He spends much of the story attempting to be sincere to his own inner experiences, but also reconcile his actions with the needs and demands of his wife. Even though he confessed and asked forgiveness, she has not forgiven him in word or deed and he considers this to be hurtful. He also refuses to tolerate hypocrites, while considering himself one (and finding that painful about himself); when he saw how the local minister preached poverty but wanted more and more expensive things for his church, John stopped attending services and has shown no interest in pretending to hold anything but contempt for the minister in the months since then. He is often emotionally combative, losing his temper in front of people when it would be more prudent to remain calm, and feels a need to be true to his convictions at the end of the story. Even though he very much wants to save his own skin and asks his wife to help him decide what to do, he chooses to die rather than put his “good name” to a lie. He considers this a betrayal of “other, better people” that did not sacrifice the truth to save themselves, and goes to his death rather than be unable to live with his name tarnished. He doesn’t want his sin made known in public and to forever taint him by association. John has no illusions about anyone else, but sees them for who they are and judges them according to whether he or considers them to be hypocritical or not; he had an affair during his wife’s illness with Abigail  and when caught, allowed his wife to send her away. He has since moved on from it, seeing it as a temporary distraction and a sin that has drawn him away from God and caused his wife to lose faith in him. John believes his physical actions on behalf of the church should speak to his faith (“I even put the roof on it!” more than his weekly attendance). He shows physical aggression, choking and threatening Abigail unless she take back her lies, manhandling his maid and threatening to beat her for not obeying his orders to stay away from the court, and dragging her before the court to confess. He is oblivious to the seriousness of the situation in town, because he’s preoccupied with working his farm, until Reverend Hale comes to question them both. John is a rational and hard-working man, who remains outside the “witch hysteria” until his wife is accused, and then goes to battle to save her life, while attempting to atone for the affair that caused her to lose faith in him. John remembers most of the Ten Commandments, but tells Reverend Hale “between us, we remember them all,” speaking of his wife, when he cannot recall the one about adultery. He underestimates how wrathful and manipulative Abigail can be, until he sees it with his own eyes, but once he becomes aware of what is going on, he has specific insights into people. He accurately predicts the world will go mad, that Abigail has conned everyone into believing her with the intention of having revenge upon his wife and “dancing with me upon her grave,” and can be metaphorical from time to time (“you are pulling heaven down and raising up a whore!”). He does not believe in witches or nonsense, and calls out the girls for being manipulative frauds, bluntly accusing them of falsehood and reluctantly exposing his own adultery in an attempt to save his wife, since he relies on her goodness causing her to be “honest” about the affair (he does not think that she will attempt to save his reputation and conceal his sin, damning them both). Though forceful at times, and prone to assuming the evidence will speak for itself as proof sufficient to get his wife off the hook, John ultimately makes an “irrational” decision to save his soul at the cost of his life.

Enneagram: 1w2 so/sx

John knows he failed to live up to a high standard and feels enormous guilt about what he did wrong. He does not know why his wife cannot forgive and forget his actions, but also does not know how to forgive himself. He does not want others to know about his flaws and sinful behaviors if he can avoid it, and only exposes them when he thinks it might save his wife’s life. John quits attending church because he thinks the pastor is a hypocrite, and has no problem calling others out on their wrongful behavior or demanding they tell the truth. He is willing to sign his name to a lie to saveh is life, but upon knowing it will be nailed onto the church door where everyone can read it, and his neighbors will judge him either as an admitted witch or know that he lied to save his own neck, immediately changes his mind and chooses to die instead, so that can protect his good name. He begs them not to make his admission public, because “my name… it is the only one I have.” He is easily driven to anger and a loss of self-control. John has a warm and tender side in his 2, where he thinks his good actions should get rewarded by respect, forgiveness, and love, and be to his credit (he reminds Reverend Hale that he helped put a roof on the church, even if he has not set foot in it for quite some time out of contempt for its minister). In the end, he decides to die both to protect his reputation, and leave a lasting legacy in his wife’s estimation of him. She concludes that at long last, he has found “his goodness now… God forbid I take it from him.”