Integrity In The Crucible

Decent Essays
John Proctor, the protagonist of The Crucible, is responsible for the witch trials that ensued in Salem, because he takes advantage of Abigail Williams, prioritizes his reputation over integrity, and defies the community and God. The humble beginnings of the witch trials stem from Abigail’s desire for John Proctor. Prior to the witch trials, it is revealed that Proctor had an extramarital affair with a young, confused girl, Abigail Williams. Although Proctor ends the affair, Abigail has already fallen in love with him, which eventually becomes the driving force of her actions. However, while Proctor is aware of Abigail’s feelings, he does not cut off all ties with her. Instead, he takes advantage of her feelings for him and continues to seek …show more content…
Over the years, Proctor has earned a solid reputation for himself and he intends to keep name untarnished. Throughout a majority of the book, Proctor makes questionable choices because he prioritizes his reputation over integrity. For example, although Abigail told Proctor that the girls are lying, he refuses to admit this information to the court, even though people have already been condemned. To admit this information, he would have to disclose the illicit relationship he had with Abigail, and he cares more about his own good name than clearing everyone else’s. Additionally, even after his wife Elizabeth has been arrested, Proctor’s initial decision is to persuade Mary Warren to testify, insteading of coming forth himself. It is only when Proctor is out of choices does he finally confess to lechery with Abigail, hoping to discredit her in the eyes of the court and save his wife. However, when Elizabeth Proctor is called to credit her husband’s story, she chooses to lie in an attempt to protect his good name. By now, Proctor has lost credibility in the court and they are more inclined to believe to Abigail and the girls. Had Proctor told the court the truth about Abigail sooner, he would have prevented many hangings. Therefore, Proctor’s misguided priorities led the trials to escalate further than they should …show more content…
When court officials come to the Proctor house to arrest Elizabeth, Proctor loses control of his emotions and angrily tears the arrest document. Unable to think rationally, Proctor is reduced to an indignant, disruptive man in the eyes of the court, and they no longer feel the need to respect him. If he had handled the situation differently, perhaps he might have carried more veracity later, when he tries to clear his wife’s name. However, Proctor not only defies the court, he also defies God. Proctor does not regularly go to church, did not baptize his youngest son, and when prompted, could not recite the Ten Commandments. Additionally, he yells, “God is dead!”, a statement so inflammatory it causes uproar in the community and Proctor’s reputation is effectively destroyed. God is the most respected figure in Salem, so Proctor’s actions are viewed as blatant defiance. Proctor defies the community, losing validity among the townspeople and the court until they find no value in his words, reducing his testimony to mere hearsay. Thus, he is unable to stop the witch trials from

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