The Crucible CRT
Queen Elizabeth High School
English Language Arts 20-1
Friday, December 15, 2017
The Crucible CRT
The worst deeds to commit are often the hardest to resist. In Arthur Miller’s work The Crucible he develops the idea that a person must restore honour by returning to their principles. In other words a person that wants to reinstate their integrity has to follow their original code of ethics. Initially, John Proctor strays from his morals and commits a sin. Then he struggles to come to terms with his offense and the matter of confessing. Finally, he is forced to sacrifice everything for his name. John Proctor is a man who built himself on the foundation of religion, who went against his beliefs and discovered what it meant to have great inner turmoil and the steps it takes for one to reconcile with himself.
John Proctor gives in to the temptation of adultery, blackening his self perception of his character. John deserted his strict vows of marriage, by sleeping with his young house servant, named Abigail. He ended his relationship with Abigail, after the guilt consumed him. This did not fix the damage of his relationship between him and his wife. Although he was no longer sleeping with Abigail he still feels an attraction towards her, which he tries to keep suppressed. This is shown when he admits “I may have looked up” at Abigail’s window when he passed by. Alluding that he still lusts for her, but is able to stop himself from continuing to make violations based on his primal emotions. His feelings for Abigail are weak, but still have an effect over him.This confession of still feeling softly towards Abigail is not definite, but shows how John Proctor is a man who is scared to admit what he has done. The guilt of lying and cheating has changed him from the honest, self respecting man he once was. Him and his wife are the only ones aware that this change has occurred, as it has caused bitterness to develop in their relationship. Elizabeth has lost trust in John and John “(will) not have (her) suspicion anymore”. He resents Elizabeth for not being able to forgive him and hold confidence in him. Their marriage is something John Proctor values, but has betrayed and ignores that he has not done something wrong to warrant Elizabeth’s suspicion. Which leaves him to try and pick up the pieces and make his marriage and himself whole again. His anger for himself is being deflected onto his wife, when it should be internalized as he struggles to regain who he once was.
John Proctor is conflicted at the thought of having to confess to his own affair, even when it is to save the life of his wife. Elizabeth is threatened with an accusation that she is witch by Abigail. John blames himself for putting his wife’s life endanger because he caused Abigail “(to) warrant vengeance” inadvertently on Elizabeth. He does not know if he is ready to expose his ugliness, to the judgmental side of Salem. At the same time he values his wife and her life.. His wants and values clash as internally battles with himself to make a decision. He believes that Abigail’s hate should be directed at him not the people around him, which only adds to his guilt, and knows the only way to save Elizabeth is to confess. To John the only good thing that he has is that the community still believes John Proctor is a man of God. Confessing to the deadly crime of adultery would mean that people’s perspectives on him would change as they would see him as a man of no integrity or faith. This would make him an outsider and scorned by the public, creating more suffering for Proctor. John knows that the right honourable thing to do, is to tell people of his crime and make them aware that Abigail and her pack of girls are frauds. He knows if he pursues this it will mean he loses his stature as man of high estate. This thought process shows John is beginning to think of his original beliefs and sense of duty, but is not yet fully committed to them. John in the beginning tries to bring justice to Elizabeth and the rest of the accused through Mary Warren; this fails and he is forced to reveal what he did with Abigail publicly. This effects the crowd greatly as they know he is telling the truth because “a man will not cast away his good name” for nothing. John knew that this would change the crowds perspective on the witch hunt and save the lives of those who were already accused of being guilty. He did not share the critical information as to what had happened between him and Abigail at the beginning of the trial, because of a selfish reason of not wanting his reputation ruined. In a religious village such as Salem the only thing people care about and uphold is their reputation, for John to ruin that shows how serious his claim is. The proclamation of his guilt for his sin shows his values are slowly starting to align, making ” a bell of (his) honour,” demonstrating he is beginning to return to his former state of dignity.
John Proctor’s most highly valued possession is his name and what it stands for. In his eyes John Proctor has fallen from the light of God, but the town people still see the goodness within him, including Elizabeth. This is shown when John asks Elizabeth to excuse him from his mistake, but she has “come to naught that (she) should forgive him , if (he) will not forgive himself.” Elizabeth acknowledges that no mercy and compassion from her will heal John from himself; if he is not willing to end the blame he is holding against himself. He is also facing an identity crisis, as he knows he is no longer a holy man as he has done evil, but he does not know if that makes him evil. The court will grant his life for one final lie, at first he chooses his life, but it nags at him until he is faced with a moment of clarity where his original greatness and virtues are restored. He will not stand to be used to condemn himself or anyone else, which is what he would have done if he had given Judge Hawthorn a written confession. John has been purified of his past sins and could not bare for anymore false words and actions come from him. With courage he decides to face the gallows and yield his life so “(he could) see some shred of goodness in John Proctor”. Making this sacrifice meant that to John he had come full circle and had become what he once was, a man of integrity and greatness. He has found a new purpose in life, to right his wrongs and fight for what he believes in. He did this by proving to himself the only way he will discover honour is by finding what was left of his moral compass, repairing it, and setting the direction true once again.
John Proctor was able to regain honour to his title, by practicing his old policies and staying true to his beliefs. Proctor was a man who lost sight of what he valued and committed an offense, which cause a chain of negative effects in his life. He was bitterly angry at himself for becoming a victim of sin and had conflicted feelings about confessing to it. A ultimatum is eventually given to him causing him to give up his life, for his name. He did this because he realized that the only way to stay true to your morals.