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Proctor And His Conscious Essay

1097 words - 5 pages

Proctor and his Conscious

John Proctor was a husband, a farmer, and village commoner. All of this was represented by his name. The name of John Proctor could be considered his priceless asset. This is understandable because reputation was tremendously important in Salem, where public and private moralities were one and the same. However, throughout the play, Proctor also suffered from incredible inner turmoil, which may have led to his decision to die at the end. Was his decision an act of excessive pride or honor?
Early on in the play, Proctor had an affair with Abigail Williams, while she was working in his home. Proctor believed that his affair with Abigail irreparably damaged him in ...view middle of the document...

This is why he was willing to die at the end of the play. Proctor felt that he could not have endured living with this sin looming over him everyday. This may consider Proctor as a good and noble man.
In addition, Proctor chose to die because he could not afford to double-cross his friends. He felt that by selling out his friends, he would be committing another sin and blacken his name further. He would have then had to live everyday hating himself for what he did. He would not have been able to live with himself knowing that innocent people had died, while he escaped death by lying. His three sons also influenced his decision. Proctor could not raise his sons to walk like men, if he himself was not a true man. Family, life, and friendship were very important to John and he felt that if he had lived, he could not possibly raise his children to be men in the world with knowing he was a sinner who chose to sell out his friends. He wanted to teach his children that they should stand up for what they believe in and not give into problems they face, or to any other injustices in life. By dying, he thought that he would teach his children that he was not a sell out and he had paid the debts of the sins he had committed. He wanted his sons to know that their father had died with honor and integrity like his name.
Furthermore, Proctor had a very strong belief that if his name was blackened, there was no reason to live. This was the major influence in his decision to die at the end of the play. In Act IV, Proctor wrestled with his conscience over whether or not to confess to witchcraft and save himself from gallows. The judges and Hale had almost convinced him to do so, but Proctor could not bring himself to confess. This unwillingness had partly reflected the desire to not dishonor his fellow prisoners, but more importantly it illustrated his obsession with his name. Proctor believed that people would look down on him with disdain, and forever blacken his name if he confessed; since, it would have been put up on the church...

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