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The Crucible, by Arthur Miller

Essay by   •  March 1, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  670 Words (3 Pages)  •  887 Views

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in many texts, certain characters and the beliefs they uphold pose questions to the reader concerning beliefs and attitudes. Expand.

The Crucible, by Arthur Miller

After reading The Crucible by Arthur Miller, one cannot help but wonder why when given the chance to confess to the accusations and live, did the characters choose to stay firm and die? For people today that question is not easily answered. In the past, the answer was found within the strong religious background that most of the accused were raised on, and the feeling of pride and honour they felt in their hearts. The protagonist John Proctor exemplifies the importance of a strong name through his actions and choices throughout the play; most significantly the final act when he chose death over disgracing his name. Throughout the play one of the central themes continues to be John and Elizabeth Proctor's, Giles Corey's, and Rebecca Nurse's refusal to degrade their souls with lies of confession only to save themselves from the unjust accusations of witchcraft. In the year 1692 the people living in and around Salem, Massachusetts were from Puritan faith and lived very strict lives, upholding family honour. For what is a name when you have no soul to go with it? That is what these individuals faced.

Both Giles Corey and John Proctor believed in letting God be the judge of their faults. When Giles Corey refused to answer to his indictment in order to preserve his land's ownership for his family, he trusted in a higher power, God, knowing death was his punishment. Proctor also felt this way, and when arguing about his confession of adultery, he turned to God as his judge when he said,

"I have confessed myself! Is there no good penitence but it be public? God does not need my name nailed upon the church! God sees my name; God knows how black my sins are! It is enough! (4.132)."

These two individuals lost hope in the justice system that ruled their lives here on earth, so instead they decided to put their trust in their religious background and their belief in God as the definitive judge.

During the trials confessing to a lie to save your life was an option many people chose, others did not out of a sense of pride and honour. John Proctor was the perfect example of this. He had self-respect, particularly for his name. After verbally admitting

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