Who Is John Proctor's Reputation In The Crucible

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Reputation is placed at the forefront of The Crucible, as John Proctor struggles with whether the moral decision is to lie and confess to witchcraft or tell the truth and hang. After Elizabeth and John have a quick discussion about their children, and the death of Giles Corey, John finally opens himself up to Elizabeth: “(With great force of will, but not quite looking at her) I have been thinking I would confess to them, Elizabeth. What say you? If I give them that”(Miller 124)? John is embarrassed by his past adultery, and now has to maintain both his reputation with Elizabeth and himself. As he stands “with great force of will,” Miller illustrates the weight of his past decisions coming back to haunt him. His will has been crushed by watching …show more content…

Elizabeth responds to John that she wants him to live, but that it his decision to make. Afterwards John asks her about Martha Corey, and when she says that she will not confess, John realizes how cowardly he is: “I am not that man.(she is silent). My honesty is broke, Elizabeth; I am no good man. Nothing's spiked by giving them this lie that were not rotten long before”(Miller 126) Proctor mentions that only out of spite for his captures has he kept silent, but now facing death and seeing the face of his wife, he feels that he should confess. Though his confession would be for witchcraft, Proctor believes that either way he is not a good man and that punishment would be justified either way. Proctor now sees his decision as practical instead of moral, telling Elizabeth that “it is hard to give a lie to a dog.” Subsequently, Elizabeth responds to John by saying “yet you’ve not confessed till now. That speaks goodness in you (Miller 126). Elizabeth is the only character in the play who understands John’s moral dilemma. In this situation she has every right to be angered by her husband, whose adultery led to both of them being convicted of witchcraft.

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