In this paper I will put myself in John Proctors place. I will explain his situation and the moral dilemma that he faces. Should he put his reputation on the line to save his life, or tell the truth and die an honest man? I will discus what choice I personally would make given the same circumstance as John Proctor. I will also address the criticisms that I would expect from my choice and how I would respond to them.
In the beginning of the Crucible John Proctor was just an average man. John was well known and respected for his honesty in the community. John is at first described as a nice man, not easily controlled, strong and serene. John is described as non violent and a very passive person.
“He was a kind man- powerful of body, even- tempered and not easily ledâ€¦”
Honest, upright, and blunt-spoken, Proctor was a good man, but one with a secret, fatal flaw. His lust for Abigail Williams led to their affair, and created Abigail’s jealousy of his wife, Elizabeth, which sets the entire witch hysteria in motion. Because of his affair he has compromised his honesty in the eyes of his wife. This causes John to be doubted when what he need is to be trusted. Because of this John views himself as a sinner and that he should not be given any respect. Even though John gives great magnitude to his public facade, John Proctor has a very low vision of himself and his value as a human being, which affects many of his choices.
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After the charges of witchcraft stirred up, John assumes a more important role in the community. John assumes a leadership roll in the group to free Elizabeth Proctor, Mrs. Corey, and Rebecca Nurse from the prison. John becomes the tough and self-determining leader many doubted he could be. Although he fails in his action to free his wife and friends from prison we see another side to John’s character.
Once the trials begin, Proctor realizes that he can stop Abigail’s rampage through Salem but only if he confesses to his adultery. Such an admission would ruin his good name, and Proctor is, above all, a proud man who places great emphasis on his reputation. He eventually makes an attempt, through Mary Warren’s testimony, to name Abigail as a fraud without revealing the crucial information. When this attempt fails, he finally bursts out with a confession, calling Abigail a “whore” and proclaiming his guilt publicly. Only then does he realize that it is too late, that matters have gone too far, and that not even the truth can break the powerful frenzy that he has allowed Abigail to whip up. Proctor’s confession succeeds only in leading to his arrest and conviction as a witch, and though he lambastes the court and its proceedings, he is also aware of his terrible role in allowing this fervor to grow unchecked.
When the declaration stating Mary Warren had lied in court begins to fail John exhibits a very forceful and aggressive approach. John, who is innerved by the lying of Abigail Williams, grabs and shakes her. This shows that John looses control of his anger and that won’t be indecisive to resort to violence. This is also is seen when Ezekiel Cheever comes to arrest Elizabeth Proctor and John rips up the warrant. From these actions we can learn that when confronted by a problem which involves his loved ones, John is forceful, bad tempered, irritated and aggressive.
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After John is arrested, he is presented with a very complicated moral choice. This shows the greatest change in his character. John has to decide whether he desires to lie and live or be truthful and die. Because of John’s low sense of worth and damaged public appearance he believes that the best choice is to lie and live then to be truthful and die. This means that he would have to live with this lie for the rest of his life.
John moral principles soon change and become at what I would call a higher standard he then decides to be truthful and die. This shows us that he wants redemption for his affair with Abigail. These acts inform us that John has accepted the evils of his sins and in order to protect his own self esteem will not commit any more sins. This shows that John would not lie to save his own life; he would rather die than live in sin. This is what he feels would be his act of redemption.
John’s character changed from a very nice, submissive and level tempered person to a powerful and aggressive leader in the court when meet head-on by a moral choice. John determined that the lives of his wife, and friends were of higher significance than his own and takes on an attitude of endeavoring to do everything that is possible to save them. John Proctor sacrificed his public image, something he treasured, in order to support his family and friends. John believed that by doing this he could harm the reputation of Abigail Williams and save the ones he loved. John also was very aggressive and had fanatical attitude in court to attempt to intimidate the judges so that he could have his way.
If I were presented with this moral choice, I would sacrifice my own life to avoid living in a lie and to save the ones that I love. I believe that I could have redemption for all my sinful acts in life by dying for my principles. I understand that by telling a lie and living to provide for my loved ones is a very persuasive choice, but a choice I feel would be wrong. As I read this story I found my self wanting John proctor to tell the truth through out his whole ordeal. The truth is always I my mind the right choice. If you are truthful everything will work out for the best in the end.
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