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At the end of the play 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller, John Proctor goes to his death. Why is he able to make his individual sacrifice and is there any element of doubt?

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Introduction

At the end of the play 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller, John Proctor goes to his death. Why is he able to make his individual sacrifice and is there any element of doubt? The play 'The Crucible', by Arthur Miller, is set in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. The society at that time was puritan, a strict and sombre religion which forbade anything resembling vain enjoyment. They lived their lives exactly how the bible told them to and due to their persecution in England, denied any sect its freedom. A strict religion with strict beliefs and strict laws, which had punishments in line with the bible. "Any persons found lye at home or in the fields without giving good account thereof would have their names presented to the magistrates, whereby they may be accordingly proceeded against." Crimes such as adultery were punishable by death. John Proctor is the main character in the play, who makes an individual sacrifice but throughout the play there are signs that he may not be able to do this. John Proctor is a farmer in his middle thirties with a sharp, biting way with hypocrites. He is not easily led and "cannot refuse support to partisans without drawing their deepest resentment," but he is still respected and even feared in Salem. Proctor, although respected and admired by Rebecca Nurse, a highly respected person in Salem and the surrounding area, which shows that he is extremely worthy and must have goodness in him, still considers himself to be a fraud and a sinner. ...read more.

Middle

Although John Proctor speaks softly to Elizabeth Proctor and says that he "means to please you", he gets angry with his wife because he feels that she is judging him when she finds out that he was alone with Abigail Williams when she told him that it was all pretend and because Elizabeth Proctor thinks that he would not falter now if it was not Abigail Williams that he must go to hurt as Elizabeth Proctor believes that Abigail Williams "has an arrow in you yet John Proctor." This causes Proctor to become angry at himself because he is aware that Elizabeth Proctor knows he has feelings for Abigail Williams which are preventing their lives from returning to normal but also because he does not want these feelings. John Proctor is slightly angry with Elizabeth Proctor as he is tired of tiptoeing around and he tries to speak softly to not upset her but he finds it hard to restrain his anger. When Hale, Reverend of Beverly who was asked to Salem by Paris to uncover any witchcraft, comes to the Proctor house to speak to the Proctors and asks John Proctor to recite the 10 commandments, he is unable to recite the commandment about adultery because of his guilt and due to his guilt his relationship with Elizabeth is difficult. ...read more.

Conclusion

John Proctor also realises that by signing his name he will be blackening his friends names and he can not do that, "I have three children, how may I teach them to walk like men in the world and I sold my friends." So at the end of the play John Proctor can make his individual sacrifice because he can finally see some goodness in himself and Elizabeth Proctor knows this so she allows him to go. Although there are many doubts and the majority of the evidence at the end of Act 4 makes and allows the audience to believe that John Proctor is unable to make his individual sacrifice, Proctor is able and goes to his death because he is finally able to see some goodness in himself. He realises this because he can not blacken his friend's names by signing his confession and he can not sign away his name because he knows that in his life he can only have one name and he can never have another one. Another reason why he goes to make his individual sacrifice is because he will not save himself at the cost of his friends and he feels that if he dies now he will die an honest man as he has confessed his sins, which is better than dying later as a liar. By supporting the truth and dying for it John Proctor breaks Danforth's power and the power of theocracy over Salem and it's society. ...read more.

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