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Explore the dilemma of conscience that Proctor faces in the play the Crucible.

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Introduction

TASK: Explore the dilemma of conscience that Proctor faces in the play. (Consider the moment when Proctor confesses his adultery before the court. How does miller succeed in making this moment dramatic?) Conscience is the awareness of right and wrong. In the Crucible, the idea of conscience is strongly emphasised. Throughout the play, John Proctor is faced with situations regarding his family, friends, himself and moreover his moral conscience. The idea of conscience in The Crucible is based very much on Christian concepts, firstly the idea of morality, or conscience of right and wrong, secondly the idea of the confession of sin, and finally the idea of guilt and penance for sins. Proctor is so patently the victim of hysteria that his very existence is a challenge to the fanatic temperament, and he is consumed by its malice. Although Proctor is seen as a good man he is racked with guilt after his lecherous affair with Abigail Williams. We learn that Abigail can be very manipulative and continues to try and regain the affections if Proctor. "Give me a word John, a soft word." Abigail refers to John that he had "sweated like a stallion" Horses are often used to represent passion and sexuality. ...read more.

Middle

At the end if this scene Proctors only hope to save his wife by is through Mary Warren. His only option is to take her to court and is dependant on her to tell the truth. Although the dilemmas faced by Proctor in Act 2 are relatively minor, compared to later test events, they help to set up the structure of the following acts. Miller builds up tension in the play by creating acts with a calm beginning and then escalating the drama and tension towards the end of the act, where the characters and passions become increasingly inflamed and violent. Additionally each act starts with a level of conflict that has been established in the previous act. Proctor's conscience is further emphasised by the strong dramatic effects... these include volume, tone, pace, linguistic devices etc. The use of repetition augments the tension. When Mary was stammering in court the audience would feel intense and she is one of the key features at that moment. Also when the girls start to repeat everything that Mary is saying has an effect on the audience making them feel very frustrated. ...read more.

Conclusion

Having an affair with a young girl no less did not help matters much either. But by following his character and reading into him, it can be detected that he really was a just man. He was an imperfect human being like the rest of the town. He was made of flesh and therefore made mistakes like everyone else. But his intentions were for the good of his family. Because John came to the conclusion, on his own and because it was a righteous and un-selfish act, John Proctors decision to tell the truth and be put to death for it is true and justifiable. Such a courageous decision can parallel John to many martyrs as these martyrs died for what the believed in, so to did John. John can also be compared in some ways to Jesus Christ who is greatly remembered as a saviour as he sacrificed himself to confirm his devotion to God and faith in what he believes. Like Jesus, Johns views were went against many peoples previously 'set in stone' series. We've always regarded Jesus actions as moral and principled; similarly, we can regard Proctors actions as pure and sufficient proof that he had a high spiritual level and a strong conscience. ...read more.

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