The Crucible Reputation

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Reputation is what one is perceived as or what they are associated with. Reputation is everything in a small town. In Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, this is especially true in the meager town of Salem where social standing is tied to one’s ability to follow religious rules. Having a good name is how you do business with others or get a fair hearing. Miller addresses the theme of reputation in The Crucible through Parris, Proctor and Abigail’s actions showing how far one will go to keep their reputation untarnished. Miller introduces Parris as the town's Reverend who is not well liked by everyone, but still wants to keep his reputation spotless. Parris says to Abigail, “ I have fought here three long years to bend these stiff-necked people…show more content…
Proctor speaks to the court exclaiming, “ How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” (1357). Proctor has kept his good name, but at a price. His pride in his name silenced him from speaking out about Abigail and his adultery. Now that he has told the court his sins, he yearns for that bit of pride to stay intact. With his patience thinning Proctor pleas, “ Is there no good penitence but it be public? Good does not need my name nailed upon the church” (1356). By refusing to renounce his name, Proctor redeems himself for his earlier silence and dies with integrity and honor. No matter his faults, John Proctor must keep his good name; it is all he has…show more content…
Abigail speaks to the “bird” in the rafters of the courthouse announcing, “ Oh Mary, this is a black art to change shape. No, I cannot, I cannot stop my mouth; it’s God’s work I do” (1336). Abigail accuses others in order to hide her faults. Her actions reveal her willingness to do whatever it takes to keep her image safe. Fearful, Parris utters to Danforth and Hawthorne, “ Excellency, I think they be aboard a ship. My daughter tells me how she heard them speaking of ships, and tonight I discover my- my strongbox is broke into” (1346). With Proctor, her lover, sentenced to die, Abigail had nothing left in Salem. She was so concerned with her reputation being tampered with that she fled the town. She was scared her reputation would be ruined if she was caught in her lies. Abigail’s “good” reputation is built on deception, the pain of others and her vengeful soul. Parris, John Proctor and Abigail exhibit the theme of reputation through their words and actions.These characters in The Crucible have strong feelings about how others view their overall quality or character. For every decision that is made there is always a consequence. Each character was willing to do anything to ensure their reputations safety. If ones good name is defaced, society will begin to reject who they are. John would not be perceived as morally straight, Parris would no longer be seen as religious and holy
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