English II Pre-AP/Honors
6 February 2019
The Role of Reputation in The Crucible
Reputation is an extremely important aspect of society, and was even of greater importance in the 17th century. Without a satisfactory reputation, it's near impossible to completely fit into society. Throughout The Crucible, the play by Arthur Miller, reputation is seen as a saving grace for some, or a fatal flaw for the unlucky others. This conflict is evident with John Proctor, whose good name was sullied with false claims of witchcraft, after his refusal to unfaithfully accuse other innocent people. As-well as with Reverend Parris, whose “godly” characterization provides shelter from the criticism and condemnation placed on the others in Salem, or even Abigail, whose young age and seemingly innocent actions allow for her lies to be spread for twisted personal gain.
Puritan society, which was created solely on social order and discipline, allowed for little to no individuality, as it clashed with their godly simplicity. This plainess is illustrated even with the stage directions “...a chair, and a small table are the other furnishings….The room gives off an air of clean spareness. The roof rafters are exposed, and the wood colors are raw and unmellowed.” (Miller 04). This uniformity leaves little room for personal freedom, leading to those who act or think independently to be quickly persecuted. Even small tasks such as dancing, the real start of the hysteria in Salem, were viewed as a sin. These plain and over the top Puritan values, specifically it's negative view on dancing is shown in the quote “...my daughter and my niece I discovered dancing like heathen in the forest?” (10). These negative views on such simple acts ultimately lead to the ease that the accusations in Salem and spread, to the demise of some, whose differences from the others in the Salem society set them up for failure.
After being accused of witchcraft, John admits just why Abigail is accusing him, adultery. We see him taint his name, and basically sentence himself to death. He sullies his name to get rid of the claims of witchcraft, but still is persecuting himself when he admits to adultery. He knows his confession will bring about his downfall, as seen with the “ I have rung the doom of my good name” (Miller 111), but he is willing to accept that, instead of the lies Abigail spreads. Although he attempts to clear himself, and his wife, of false witchcraft accusations, he ultimately fails as his wife refuses to admit on his adultery. Mrs.Proctor has good intentions though, as adultery was a mortal sin and crime in the Puritan society, so she is only trying to save him from the law: “She only thought to save my name!”...