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Exploring how the John Proctor goes through a journey of self discovery and makes the decision that his pride and principles are worth dying for.

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Introduction

Arthur Miller's play 'The Crucible' was based upon the 1950s McArthur trials. Miller was called before the House of Un-American Activities Committee in 1956 and refused to testify against his friends and associates (similar to the decision made by his main character and protagonist, John Proctor). He was then charged with contempt, but the conviction was later overruled with an appeal. The play explores the challenge in society to stand up for what you believe in and doing good in the face of evil. Salem must have seemed a very strong basis of which to develop his play and ideas. Miller travelled to Salem and heavily researched the Puritan society existing in the 17th century. In this essay I am going to explain how John Proctor goes through a journey of self discovery and makes the decision that his pride and principles are worth dying for, which is why Miller has written the play. In the first scene involving John Proctor, his sordid affair with Abigail Williams is exposed. Although honest and a good man, John is very passionate - which lands him in a lot of trouble. After a lot of guilt and a heavy concience he decides to end the affair with Abby. ...read more.

Middle

'I'll not give my wife to vengeance.' This quote shows John's willingness to stand up for what he believes in, and his love for Elizabeth, because he believes his wife is good and pure and won't hesitate to stand up for her. Elizabeth begs her husband to speak out and tell the court what kind of person Abigail really is. However it takes her arrest before he will do this. Proctor states 'I had not reckoned with goin' into court. But if I must I will.' Abigail is a very powerful girl and the other girls are obviously afraid of her. It is clear that Abigail is out for revenge against Elizabeth Proctor. She wants her arrested and blamed as a witch so badly that she stabs herself in the stomach just so she can say she has put a spell on her and wants her dead. Elizabeth is then arrested on her evidence. Proctor is pushed to his limits - having to stand up in court for his wife. This is one example of how much he stands by his principles. Standing up in court could result in death if he slips up. ...read more.

Conclusion

He tears up his 'confession'. Now a doomed man, he maintains his dignity to the gallows. Elizabeth refuses to watch his execution and exclaims 'He has his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!'. Elizabeth saying this enforces the idea that John has gone on a journey of self discovery. 'He has his goodness now' can be interpreted that in the beginning of the play, John was not a man of integrity or goodness but through the trials and tribulations of the play has been made into a better man. 'God forbid I take it from him' suggests that Elizabeth feels that she should not be present at Johns funeral as she feels partly to blame for his death. In conclusion I believe that the above events outlined from the play explain the trials and transformation of John Proctor - from being impulsive and passionate to being loving and believing that his principles are worth dying for. Elizabeth being the woman he loves and seeks forgiveness from, and Abigail, the jealous and frightening girl who seeks revenge on both of them. Miller has used 'The Crucible' to send a message to modern America about the consequences of repeating history; comparing the 1950s McArthur trials to the Salem witch trials. ?? ?? ?? ?? English GCSE Coursework - The Crucible 15/9/06 Lucy O'Donovan 11.7 ...read more.

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