The Crucible: John Proctors Decision To Die Was Justifiavble Essay, Research Paper
John Proctors Decision To Die Was Justifiable
In the novel The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, a strict and disciplined puritan town is dealing with a case of witchcraft. It started when a group of girls were found dancing and participating in mysterious acts in the forest. John Proctor, a simple farmer in this rigorous and religious town, is a man of strong moral beliefs, concerned only for the safety of his family and personal welfare. He does not care for the beliefs of any of the other people in the town or for what the Reverend, a strong community figure, thinks either. After trying to avoid involvement in the witch trials he is later prosecuted for witchery and sentenced to hang. His reason for avoiding getting involved is to protect his image because he is afraid he will be committed of adultery, something he did with Abigail Williams. Abigail is one of the accused girls and also happens to be the Reverend?s niece. Following these events he tries to save the lives of innocent towns people by admitting to this horrible offense of adultery, but ends up losing the trial along with his life. He did have a chance to live but instead of signing away his name to keep his life, he wanted to die honorably with his friends, rather than live a life of guilt and carry a blackened name.
John Proctors decision to die is reasonable and believable. Proctor has come to regard himself as a king of fraud as long as he remains obedient to an authority in which he cannot respect. As John talks with his wife Elizabeth discussing the matter of whether or not he shall confess, he tells her of what a fraud he is. ?I cannot mount the gibbet like a saint. It is a fraud. I am not that man. Nothing?s spoiled by giving them this lie that were not rotten long before? (The Crucible, 136). While In other words he believes that he cannot be his true self when he has to
abide by lies and not by his morals. He is caught in a web of moral dilemmas involving not only
his own fate, but that of his wife, his friends and the entire Salem community. John Proctor is the individual who must decide weather or not he will assert himself against an overbearing authoritarian government. His loyalty to his own beliefs, which do not include golden candlesticks for pulpits or ?hellfire? sermons, are contradicted by Reverend Parris. So he would normally resists the reigning authority and retreat to his farm. But thus far his rebellion against the church really involves none but is own welfare. At the same time, the community of Salem rests on his decision of weather to lie dishonorably or die honorably.
John Proctor is looked upon as a respectable farmer, and as an individualist. He may be but he is still respected. John does not respect the church or theocracy especially when a Reverend so corrupt is the superior. John Proctor is setup as the individual who is revolting from the restrictions of too much authority. It was believed that many men were tempted by the devil to do his bidding and they were thought of to be the ?enemy?. In Salem, the ?enemy? is at least partially represented by Proctor, who is acting as an individual and is breaking away from the established authority. Ever since Reverend Parris took his position in the community, John became an individual by standing out in the crowd and noticing Parris?s problem with money. While in the courts, he states an opinion. ?I-I have no love for Mr. Parris. It is no secret. But God I surely love? (The Crucible, 90). Because his thoughts on the reverend reflect on him as being ?wrong?, he is entitled to his opinion. He knows he loves God and that is all that matters. But because of this strong and unfamiliar opinion, he is seen as a threat to the community, and consequently will be considered as being aligned with the devil. The one looked upon as a threat, ultimately, the central figure of drama, but still seen as a Christian. That is why he needs to show the people of Salem that he really does not have an alliance with the devil and that he will die not as the enemy but as a friend. He must show them he is and was committed to the society before it
started to become a ?corrupt? and confused community. Thus showing he will not live with shame, he will live without it or die. He does not want to be remembered like that, he wants to be remembered and looked upon as John Proctor, the simple and moral farmer, nothing more.
John Proctor has two choices, to commit himself to one side or the other. The two choices were to either live with lies, guilt and no name, or die for his friends and in an honorable and justifiable way. As he is handed the testimony and a pen to sign away his life, he realizes that he shouldn?t give into the corrupt ways of the unjust people, but rather stand up for what he believes in. He has to choose and his choice was to die which was a choice to commit himself to his friends and die honorable as an honest man. One thing he reflects on is this: ?I have three children – how may I teach them to walk like men in the world, and I sold my friends?? (The Crucible, 143). John will not be able to face anyone if he lives because they will see a liar, a coward and an unmoral man. If he were to sign away his friends, then he and his family would carry that forever and he would not be remembered as a friend, but rather as a foe. His choice to die will have him leave this world being remembered for his honor, and dignity, not only to his family and friends but to himself as well.
John Proctor?s frequent absences from church services didn?t exactly gain him favor in the eyes of other disciplined puritans. Having an affair with a young girl no less did not help matters much either. But by following his character and reading into him, it can be detected that he really was a just man. He was an imperfect human being like the rest of the town. He was made of flesh and therefore made mistakes like everyone else. But his intentions were for the good of his family. Because John came to the conclusion on his own and because it was a righteous and un-selfish act, John Proctors decision to tell the truth and be put to death for it is true and justifiable.