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The dilemmas of conscience faced by two or three characters from

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Introduction

Ceri Davies The dilemmas of conscience faced by two Or three characters from "The Crucible" The play "The Crucible" was written by Arthur Miller written 1950's but was first performed in 1953. It is set in Salem, Massachusetts in the spring of 1692 and is about a small community torn apart due to accusations of witchcraft. In this essay I am going to write about the affect that conscience has on peoples' minds and decisions. Miller once said "Now I wanted to move closer to a conscious hero". By this he meant after his last play he wanted to move closer to a character that was aware of what he has done i.e. sins and that he becomes a hero for it. I will analyze John Proctor, Reverend John Hale and Goodwife Elizabeth Proctor because these three all have their own moral struggle due to the witch-hunts. Arthur Miller has based his drama on a true story, which happened in Salem in 1692. The names of the characters he used were actually the people involved. He found out their names from his visit to Salem to look at the court records. He had changed their characters slightly i.e. making Abigail Williams older. Also at the time of him writing the play there were the McCarthy witch hunts for communists, which as a writer miller himself was thought to be communist. He was interrogated by the government and was under pressure to name names and confess just as John Proctor was, so Miller can relate to Proctor's situation. The first person I am going to analyze from the play is John Proctor. ...read more.

Middle

She says" why, it is a lie, it is a lie; how may I damn myself? I cannot, I cannot". The explanation of what she said is a simple one, which I think John Proctor, listened to and agreed with. She is saying that if she doesn't confess she will die a Christian and will go to heaven and if she does confess then she will live but then when she does die she is damned to go to spend an eternity in hell. Her strength of faith shames her. The second reason why Proctor changed his mind was he wanted to protect his self worth and good name. "I have given you my soul; now leave me my name" He does not want his name blackened in the community as it represents his identity and self worth. He doesn't want the whole community knowing his crime and thinking differently of him than how he lived most of his life. Finally the last reason he changed his mind was to be a good Christian. By this I mean if he had confessed he would be "signing himself to lies" which is a sin and he would burn in hell for it, so by not confessing nor lying he will go to heaven. Elizabeth describes how Proctor dies with "peace of mind" like a weight was lifted off his shoulders and a great burden removed because he knew he was going to heaven and that his struggle was finally over. The second person I am going to analyze is Reverend John Hale. He is a well-educated man from Beverly. ...read more.

Conclusion

She thought she was doing right by protecting him from moral scandal but she ruined John's attempts to have Abigail dismissed as a whore. Elizabeth is also faced with a final struggle of her conscience when John asks her which direction he should take and begs her forgiveness. " I would confess to them, Elizabeth. What say you?" Here Proctor is asking Elizabeth if he should confess and live but spend an eternity in hell or whether he should tell the truth by not confessing and die a Christian and spend an eternity in heaven. Elizabeth tells him that she cannot judge him meaning that he is to make his own decision as she does want more weight on her shoulders nor her conscience. Conclusion During this play many struggles are faced by each of the characters I have studied. There are other characters beside the ones I have studied that face a battle with their conscience. These people are Mary Warren and Danforth. Danforth faces a struggle with his conscience as he has to make the decisions of who dies and who lives and each death is on his conscience for the rest of his life. Miller wanted a conscious hero central to his drama because he thought that it related to his own life and the events going on around him at the time There are a few people in The Crucible that appear to have no conscience at all. These people are Abigail and The Putnams. Deep down I think the play The Crucible is all about the battles people face with their conscience and the different ways in which people deal with it. It is the central story line, upon which the entire play is based around. 6 1 ...read more.

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