Thursday, August 1, 2019

Arthur Miller’s Crucible? Essay

Even until the last few scenes of the play in Act VI Proctor still feels guilty. He states: â€Å"I cannot mount the gibbet like a saint. It is a fraud. † Just like in Act II he lets his guilt dictate his behaviour. He feels he has already condemned himself to Hell so doing any more lying will make no difference. It is only in the very last scene, when he refuses to allow his confession to be pinned to the church door, that he realises he can still be good and does the right thing. If the paper was nailed to the door the villagers would see that Proctor admitted to witchcraft and assume the others were liars. Some may argue that he is not a good man even at the end of the novel because when he does not allow for the confession to be nailed to the door this is showing his pride; he even shouts: ‘Because it is my name’ In his speech he repeats the word ‘name’ many times which shows how significant his good reputation still is to him and this could be seen as him having dishonourable intentions. However this could be interpreted, I think that the reason that Proctor does not want to have his name put on the church door is because he does not want to be the person who is calling his friends witches in the eyes of the villagers. He states: ‘I have given you my soul; leave me my name’. In signing the paper he has lied and committed a sin which due to his strict beliefs he would feel his soul was not worthy of heaven, however he does not want to commit the sin of tarnishing the reputation of the other honest villagers. I think this shows Proctor to be a good man because he does not care that he has committed a lie and so condemned his soul to hell but does care that he should blacken Rebecca Nurse’s. In the same way he does not care if he is hanged as long as Rebecca can die with her good reputation intact. He also places emphasis on his own name because he does not want to commit the sin of lying to the whole village- this shows that he values the morals he believes in and does not want to lie to so many people. I think Miller shows the struggle within Proctor to do the right thing and die or to do the wrong thing and live as a comparison with those who in the McCarthy regime wrongly accused others to save themselves from imprisonment. Miller is telling the audience that people like him who did get imprisoned were making the real sacrifice and doing the right thing whereas those who accused others were weak like Mary Warren and too cowardly to be imprisoned. John’s refusal to name other people who he has supposedly seen with the Devil also shows that he is a good man because he refuses to condemn others to the fate of death. Unlike the girls and many of the other accused witches he does not use this as an opportunity to dispense revenge on his enemies. In doing this he shows himself to be a moral superior to the other villagers and this also draws parallels with what Arthur Miller himself did when he was questioned by the House of Un- American Activities. He refused to be manipulated and went to prison for a short time rather than allowing himself to succumb to petty vengeance bred by the feeling of fear. Arthur Miller shows John as a hero here because he has done the right thing in the end and not lowered himself to the sinful acts of others in his community. Miller shows that people may act good and show good morals like Mary Warren when she shouts: ‘I believe in God’ but this is a facade because although to the society Mary looks like a reformed sinner in reality she is still sinning. However Proctor and others like Rebecca Nurse have to look like sinners and slaves of the Devil in order to keep to good morals. This irony shown by Miller helps him to illustrate how the McCarthy regime like the witch trials instead of causing goodness bred vengeance and evil. At the end of the play we know John Proctor to be a good man. His initial flaws of guilt and adultery were countered by his eventual admittance of his sins and standing up for the truth. His decisions to eventually tell the truth and die rather than lying and tarnishing the reputation of the villager’s show what a good person he was. His flaws were used by Miller to give his message to American society: people in their time who were being prosecuted by John McCarthy may have flaws just like Proctor but really the true evil lay within the House itself and that the people were innocent and just victims to jealousy and the injustice of hysteria just like Proctor was in Salem. The main technique of irony: the judges and accusers seemed like moral superiors yet the judges were manipulative and the accuser’ vengeful whereas Proctor who was flawed and thus seemed sinful did not succumb to either evils. This helps strengthen Miller’s message about the people who accused others of Communism and the House itself. The universal purpose is to remind people that jealousy and hysteria are dangerous things and that even ideal societies like the democracy of America and the theocracy of Salem can be unjust and uncivilised and this is shown brilliantly by the harsh and cruel manipulative manner of the judges. In Salem’s idea of goodness Proctor was a good man at the end of the play because he was sorry for his sins and believed in God; he even demonstrated this by refusing to lie at the end. Like all humans he had flaws but he overcame these by doing the right thing at the end. In Miller’s and modern times, he is also a good man because we respect people who stand up for what they believe in like Proctor did in the courts and also we value truth he stood for in an ever increasing world of media lies and propaganda. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Arthur Miller section.

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