When individuals are faced with misfortune they must endeavour to return any lost certainty and honour in order to maintain balance. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, he develops the idea that when an individual is faced with a challenge to restore honour, their values and beliefs must align with their actions. In other words when individuals are pursuing restoration of honour, they must act in a manner they deem to be ethical. Initially, John Proctor’s actions are out of line with his values. Subsequently, John must repent his sins, to recognize his wrongdoings. Finally, Proctor’s guilt drives him to restore his honour. John Proctor faces a great deal of inner turmoil throughout the play, and when faced to realign his values he is able to reconcile with himself.
Before the beginning the of the play John proctor strays away from his morals as he has an affair with Abigail Williams, a girl who worked for him as a housekeeper. However the affair is short lived, due to Elizabeth firing Abigail, and banishing her from their household. Abigail asks Proctor if he has come to see her, but Proctor denies it. The conversation reveals that approximately seven months earlier, Abigail and Proctor had an affair while Abigail lived and worked in the Proctor household. Elizabeth subsequently dismissed Abigail. Now Abigail accuses Proctor of still being in love with he. Proctor still has feelings for Abigail, but attempts to not show his affection for her. This is illustrated when Abigail and John Proctor are discussing alone, she states “Gah! I’d almost forgot how strong you are, John Proctor!”, John manages to suppress a smile displaying he still has a connection emotionally to Abigail. However John is strictly maintaining a platonic relationship with her. John’s feelings for Abigail have not solidified fully, and have begun to disperse. This shows John Proctor is afraid to confess his sins. The act of adultery has Ethically mad John’s actions are no longer linear to his values. John’s sining has been a huge factor impacting the relationship with his wife. His wrongdoing has soured the pairs bond, and Elizabeth has lost trust in John. Their actions and reactions towards one another prove that they are at odds with each other. John and Elizabeth seem to be trying to smooth out the bumps in their relationship, but for the most part they only succeed in driving themselves further apart. “I’d have you see some honesty in it. Let them that never lied die now to keep their souls.” (p.204). This quotation alludes to that Proctor desperately desires forgiveness from Elizabeth, his wife, but whether he’s earned it or not, she struggles to let go of her hurt. She cannot be honest about her lingering feeling of betrayal, and John is callous to think that Elizabeth should just get over it. John truly values his marriage with Elizabeth, and knows he has sinned, doing such, he struggles to mend the ripple between his relationship with his wife.
Proctor, holding his name to great stature, believed if his name was tarnished, there was little to no reason to live. This was the major influence in his venture to restore his honour. John Proctor struggled to come to terms with his conscience over whether to lie and confess to witchcraft preserving himself from the wrath of Danforth. The judges and Hale had almost convinced him to do so, but Proctor couldn’t bring himself to hand in the confession. Partly, this disinclination mirrored his desire not to dishonour his fellow prisoners, but more importantly it also illustrated his obsession with his good name. Proctor believed that people would look down on him with disdain, and that it would forever blacken his name if he signed the confession, as it would have been put up on the church door for public view. His obsession with his good name was further shown when he raged, “I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” This strong desire to defend his name enabled Proctor to muster the courage to die heroically, with his goodness intact. This courage, along with Elizabeth’s forgiveness, enabled Proctor to forgive himself and to finally regain his good name and self-respect in his own eyes. At this point in the play, Proctor had come to a true understanding of what a good reputation meant and what course of action it necessitated. He understood that he had to tell the truth and that he shouldn’t lie to save himself. Although he very much wanted to live, escaping death was not worth basing the remainder of his life on a lie. What was most important to Proctor was to make a stand against the insanity of the town, for himself and for God. He used this as a last resort to make people aware of the corrupt happenings and false accusations during the trials. This last stand for righteousness was an example of Proctor’s great character and rationale. Proctor felt strongly about having a good name and about taking it to his grave. He weighed both sides of his internal conflict and realized that he couldn’t make another mistake. Therefore, he sentenced himself to death. Throughout Act IV, Proctor learned about the strength of his will and about the power of his name. He knew that it was important above all to preserve his good name and the integrity of his family. At the end of the play, as the court officials led him to the gallows, Proctor finally found contentment for the first time.
This text masterfully illustrates the role an individual has upon the development of their actions and values to reinstate honour. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, he develops the idea that when an individual is faced with a challenge to restore honour, their values and beliefs must align with their actions. Initially, John commits a sin and strays away from his morals. Subsequently, John is afraid to confess he has sinned, and come to terms with himself. Finally, John Proctor is able to bring honour to his name by aligning his values and beliefs. At the end of The Crucible, John Proctor is a different man. He shows motivation, bravery and His morals and values are in check, and now he In the dictionary, the word crucible is defined as a difficult moral test. This is interesting in the way that it proves that John Proctor has changed during this test and learnt many experiences that made of him a good man, a tragic hero. He dies with honor and positively surprises the reader by his great actions at the end.