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Crucible Thematic Essay: Reputation, Moral Pride, and Judgment

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Crucible Thematic Essay: Reputation, Moral Pride, and Judgment

In The Crucible, Arthur Miller highlights, people who act only to protect their own reputations usually make poor judgments, through the actions of John Proctor, Reverend Parris, and Judge Danforth. These three characters in Miller's play are very prideful. The opinion of the town means more to them, than what is the correct thing to do.

John Proctor, the protagonist in the play, lets his reputation block his view to true happiness. In Act 2, he is arguing with his wife Elizabeth Proctor at their kitchen table. They are talking about his affair with Abigail Williams. "Let you sometimes look for the goodness in me and judge me not." (Miller 1238) In this altercation, John doesn't like that Elizabeth is judging him and dirtying hi reputation. He cares for his wife and wants her to think the best of him. Another example is in Act 4, as he is confessing to being a witch, to save himself from the gallows. "You will not use me!...I am John Proctor!" (1272) John will not be used as an example to Salem. He is "John Proctor"(1272) and will not let the men of the court tarnish his reputation. In Act 4, Proctor is yelling at the court about putting his confession on the church wall, "Because it is my name!... I have given you my soul; leave me my name!" (1272) John pleads for his name and his reputation. If he signs himself to lies, his name becomes a lie, and so does his reputation. John Proctor doesn't want to have his reputation ruined by anything, especially his own lies.

Reverend Parris is an extremely selfish and paranoid man. To the point that his reputation means more than his own daughter! Betty is lying unconscious and Parris is trying to get the truth out of his niece, Abigail Williams. "...If you trafficked with spirits in the forest I must know it now, for surely my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it." (1219) Reverend Parris is threatening his niece to tell him the truth, but not because his daughter is comatose, but because he can't have people who don't like him ruin his reputation. In Act 2, when Mary Warren is about to confess the truth, Parris tries very hard to make Danforth believe that John and Mary are there to overthrow the court. "They've come to overthrow the court, sir!" (1251) Parris is trying to convince Danforth this because if Mary Warren is really telling the truth, ahe will look like a fool for letting his niece and friends get the better of him. Proctor, trying to get Parris to shut his mouth tells everyone in the court that Parris in fact caught his daughter, niece, and other friends dancing in the forest. "...Since I come to Salem this man has been blackening my name." (1257) Here Paris shows how distraught he is about his reputation. He tries to turn the accusations



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