Crucible- Proctors Choice Essay, Research Paper
Throughout history, and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, the name by which one is called, is more than just a name. Your name represents your actions, your reputation, and your beliefs. Your name can carry on after your life as a proud example of hero, or conversely, as an example of a liar. Just as important as one’s name, is the signature that it represents . By signing something, one shows that they recognize what is written and wishes to show support for what it represents. A signature is as unique as the person signing it. One can be held accountable for all which he or she marks with his or her signature. The significance of signatures is well displayed in The Crucible. In the play, John Proctor’s signature is used to represent a false confession to witchery. Throughout the Crucible, John Proctor’s devotion to his own code of ethics, and the value he attached to his name, consistently superseded his loyalty to the community. Those who confessed lived; those that denied involvement were hung. While some chose to live and as a result falsely admitted to witchcraft, John Proctor stood strong and refused to sign a false confession so that he may leave his family with a good name, resist condemning his fellow accused, and die an honest man.
When Proctor was first faced with the decision of living with a lie or dying with the truth, he chose life. He decided that a lie was a minute sin in comparison to voluntarily giving up the life with which God blessed him. After signing his confession, he was notified that it would be hung above the church entrance for all to see. Besides believing that publicity was unnecessary to a valid confession, Proctor did not want to blacken his name. Because of committing adultery, he knew what it was like to live with a bad reputation and did not want his sons to have to live with a name marked by witchcraft. Proctor crumbled up the paper in front of his accusers and chose death rather than advertise a lie.
Proctor also realized that he held an influential position in Salem and that, by admitting to witchery, he would supply reason to believe that the entire trial was indeed valid. Reverend Hale also realized this and up until the second Proctor is hung, he was insistent that Proctor confess. By choosing death and denying involvement, Proctor resisted condemning the fellow town’s people who had already been accused. He says, “I speak my sins; I cannot judge another. I have not the tongue for it.” (Miller, p. 131) By doing so he hoped that the town would accept the truth, that the entire event was no more than a lie carried out by a group of adolescent girls.
By the end of the play, John felt as though he had been stripped of all. His wife had been sentenced to death and he had confessed to adultery. He knew that he would never again be able to function in the Puritan society lead by Reverend Parris, whom he had so long despised. He decided to die an honest man rather than live a life which would only be made possible by a publicized lie. He believed that God would recognize his good intentions and save him. “God damns all liars”, and a liar John Proctor was not. (Miller, p. 108) He did give up his life, but by doing so he saved the reputations of his sons and his condemned friends. Knowing this was enough for Proctor to die with his integrity.
In the end, John Proctor dies, along with eighteen other innocent men and women. He is content with his decision to support the truth. He died with his integrity in his possession, knowing that he left his sons with a clear name and the town with speculation that the entire incident was indeed a scandal. His wife watched the execution, along with the other spectators, and concluded to Reverend Hale, “He have his goodness now, God forbid I take that from him!”(Miller, p. 134)