John Proctor's Integrity In The Crucible

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Compromising one’s integrity is untenable for many, who believe in an ethical and just society. Consequently, death in certain situations is a more favorable path than an immoral life. Reputation is the way others perceive you, while integrity is the way one perceives ones self. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, John Proctor faces a stark choice whether to protect his reputation by falsely accusing others of witchcraft or to preserve his personal integrity by choosing death and in so doing, helping to rid society of the plague of hysteria. Set in 17th century Salem, Massachusetts, this staunchly Puritan community, with a strict set of social and political laws, is embroiled in witchcraft frenzy. Community members are protecting themselves by …show more content…

In order to protect his inner morals and be true to himself, John Proctor chooses death rather than life in the daft atmosphere of Salem. Proctor is fighting with his conscience over whether he should confess to witchcraft, thus protecting himself from death and his family from poverty. The judges, Hawthorne and Dansforth, convince Proctor to verbally confess but the final impediment is his signature on the confession papers. Proctor believes it is enough that the judges have witnessed him confessing to his alleged crimes, yet the judges insist on a signature. Proctor eventually signs but will not return the signed confession to the judges. Dansforth argues that signing his name is no different than Proctor verbally confessing. However Proctor disagrees and argues, “I cannot have another [name] in my life!.. Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I …show more content…

However, John Proctor believes that not confessing to involvement with witchcraft is indirectly protecting his loved ones. When Proctor refuses to sign the confession papers, Judge Danforth states that he will not be satisfied without a signature. In refusing to sign the confession papers Proctor is thinking of his children. When the judges protest, Proctor contends, “I have three children- how may I teach them to walk like men in the world, and I sold my friend?” (143). By accepting the death penalty, Proctor avoids condemning other innocent citizens of Salem. Therefore, he believes refusing to succumb to the pressure of society helps change Salem for the better. As a result, Proctor is indirectly protecting his children by setting an example and allowing his children to “walk like men”, with their honor intact. He makes the final decision to follow the path of the gallows because he is able to die without dishonoring himself, his family and the citizens of Salem. He has bestowed on his children the gift of an honorable legacy, rather than

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