Cowardice In The Crucible Analysis

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Lie to Live, Confess to Die

Readers of The Crucible recently discovered a serious phenomenon: cowards are the most sought after and well-admired individuals in all social situations, while brave individuals are abased to that of useless liars. It absolutely seems paradoxical and unrealistic, but this premise exists in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. In his play, the antagonist Abigail, who operates in cowardice, manipulates others for her personal benefit, and to induce hatred towards the protagonist, John Proctor. The affinity between cowards and the brave is clearest and well-defined through the relationship of Abigail and Proctor. Accordingly, Miller attempts to demonstrate the clash between the two worlds of cowardice and bravery because
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The contention between the worlds is best magnified through the relationship of Proctor and Abigail. Abigail, relentless with her power, incriminates Mary-Warrant of being a witch, and deflects the blame on others because she was fearful of the egregious ramifications for her falsehoods and lies that she publicized in court. Particularly, in trial, when Abigail accuses the innocent of doing witchcraft, Proctor hollers to the judge, “You are pulling Heaven down and raising up a whore!” (pg. 96). He confesses to cheating on Elizabeth with Abigail, and then calls Abigail a whore. Proctor not only responds with courage by standing up for himself, but for Mary-Warren and Elizabeth. Proctor compromises what he values the most -- his reputation – in court, stating, “I have run the doom of my good name” (pg. 89). Proctor does not fall or falter in the face of fear; instead, he stands tall for what is moral and just: in this case, dispelling Abigail’s lies, saving Elizabeth and Mary Warren. However, through Abigail’s falsehoods, Miller showcases that fear deters cowards from acting in mortal behavior, so they resort to proclaiming lies. Truth drives the courageous to put their personal values aside and stand up for what is …show more content…
As a result, everyone in Salem behaved uniformly with the distress and anxiety of being accused of witchcraft. Likewise, Miller further touches on how cowardice is the dominant trait over the recessive trait of bravery in Salem. This is idea is magnified at the end of the play when Proctor – the innocent -- is accused of witchcraft and is confronted with the arduous task of signing a confession, admitting that he practiced witchcraft. He signs, but refuses to hand over the signed confession to the court, and pridefully declares, “I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another.” (pg. 113). As a hero, Proctor condemns himself for his transgressions. Nevertheless, many are not willing to confess their sins, such as when Proctor roars: “You will not use me!” (pg. 114). Proctor does not want the court to use his signature for the conviction and hanging of others. Proctor values others’ lives before his; however, this ultimately results in his death. He refrains from acting cowardly by signing the confession, and chooses death over fallacies. Though Proctor confesses to every one of his wrongdoings and is still denounced by the Puritans in the end, he dies peacefully as a hero. This reinforces the idea of not only the contention between the courageous and the cowardly, but also it brings forth

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