In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, Miller conveys difficulty of truth through characterization. “I want to open myself”. “I want the light of god, I want the sweet love of jesus.” says abigail, “confessing”. (Miller, 1234). Proctor delays revealing this truth for fear of losing his good reputation in the town. Everyone’s reputation is key in the play. It influences many characters. However, John’s original prioritising of his reputation over revealing the truth has the most consequences. Miller interprets the truth when Proctor’s affair could end all of the accusations of witchcraft in Salem and bring the town back to order the prostecution, making it important. By the time John decides to reveal the truth, Abigail and the girls have had time to manipulate the court so it is now corrupt and therefore when the truth is revealed, it appears to be false. Despite Proctor’s failure to convince the court he is really telling the truth his choice to do so reveals many aspects of his character. Proctor sacrifices his reputation in order to save his wife and friends. Reputation is one of the most important themes within the play and Miller develops this in order for the audience to understand Proctor’s willingness to sacrifice this in the climactic court scene when he admits he had “known her” talking about Abigail. The importance of reputation can be seen in the character of Paris when he first discovers the girls dancing in the woods. Rather than concern himself with dealing with the serious act, as it was in this period of time, Parris is more worries about how this Smith 2may affect his reputation in the town. He asks Abigail “Your name, it is entirely white in the village, isn’t it?” (Miller, 1268). As he know if it is not he would lose his position in the community. Proctor values his reputation in the same way and therefore when he chooses to reveal the truth and destroy his name he gives up one of the most important things in his life. He, as he said himself “made a bell of my honour”. Proctor’s revelation of the truth is also very significant as he was previously on a quest to find some goodness left within him after the act of lechery. He claims “I am no good man” (Miller, 1245). Proctor is constantly trying to do the right thing and make correct decisions to show he is not all bad to both himself and his wife. Most of the characters in The Crucible are lying—if not to other people, then to themselves. Abigail lies about her ability to see spirits, as do the other girls; Proctor is deceitful first for cheating on his wife and then for hiding it; and the judge and lieutenant governor and ministers lie to themselves and everybody else in saying that they serve the cause of God’s justice. The twist in the story is that by telling the truth “I am not a witch”, you die, but you also gain your freedom.
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