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The Crucible Essay, Research Paper

Can a person’s opinion equal their fate? In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, John Proctor’s stand in a society where opinion drove fate created ignominy towards him and his beliefs. First he hid his horrible sin inside, fearing the consequences. When he finally did, he was placed in a tangled labyrinth of feelings as to what his next action should have been. Lastly, it was Proctor’s defiance and integrity in his own self that proved him stronger than the entire community of Salem.

Proctor’s tremulous feelings and general unease of the situation built up to his defining point of confession. Church and government came together to coercingly control Salem and its actions. Proctor saw this and feared, for diabolism was a practice unheard of.

“You must understand, sir, a person is either with this church or against it – there be no road between. We live no longer in the dusky afternoon and evil mixed itself with good and befuddled the world. Now by God’s grace the good folk and evil entirely separate.” -Deputy Danforth

John contemplated his actions and reached an influential decision towards what his fate would be – after all, he believed, he could control it. As he stated defiantly, “I want my life… I will have my life.” After John confessed, he believed he had done Elizabeth and the children good, for they were the wellspring of his life. He would be free, accepted by Salem still.

The powerful effect of his trial and disagreement and its conflicting with Salem’s way of life had already left a silent yet profound mark on everyone. Knowing that imperfection lurked among the good folk, the government wished to announce to the world who the sinning man was. Proctor was paradox to this – he wished nor believed anything of the sort, as his name was the only thing left of him. The Church and government robbed him of everything else that could make him man – his honor, his morals, his shame. Towards the very end of his tribulation, he states: “I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs.. show honor now, show a stony heart and sink them with it!” Horrified, he could not accept anymore torture to himself. He thought he was free, nothing more to give. Yet for Proctor, it was too much. A line had to be drawn somewhere. That line was the good name of Proctor – and little did he know, his opinion would drive his fate out of Salem and into the horrors of death.


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