The Importance Of Reputation In The Crucible By Arthur Miller

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In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, when the community of Salem becomes engulfed in the fear of witchcraft, many people become obsessed with protecting their reputation. In a time where no one is safe from false accusation, people act in extreme measures to preserve their name in order to prove their good morality to others and to protect their lives. Yet, characters react to this terror in different ways; it is utilized by Putnam to better his name, pushes Parris fiercely to protect his status, and drives Proctor to safeguard the truth to avoid a ruined reputation. As a result of this chaos, the urge to defend one’s reputation under crippling fear can lead to the abuse of power in a community. Amid the turmoil of Salem, Thomas Putnam is …show more content…
Even before chaos of the witch trials, Parris was very concerned with possessing a good name, claiming that he has “fought here three long years to bend these stiff-necked people” in his favor (Miller 11). Yet, with the young girls acting in a strange fashion and murmurs of witch craft, Parris panics “with a frantic terror rising in him,” knowing that the reputation that he worked long and hard for could be instantly crushed (Miller 16). In addition, Parris is aware that many individuals already dislike him, thus he is more anxious in this situation to protect his reputation because it would be an opportunity for them to tear him down. While, at first, Parris is agitated by Abigail for “compromising my vey character,” once he realizes that others are listening and praising Abigail for accusing others of witchcraft, Parris jumps on this bandwagon and supports Abby and the court to better his name (Miller 11). Unlike Putnam, Parris does not accuse other for vengeance, however by standing with the court and sentencing others people respect him and give him power. Yet, like most other individuals in Salem, Parris abuses this power by letting the innocent die all for the sake of selfishly preserving his reputation. During the trials he disregards the defendants case, claiming that everyone has “come to overthrow the court,” in order to appeal to the court and maintain his …show more content…
Although throughout the village Proctor is regarded with high respects, he “has come to regard himself as a kind of fraud,” due to his sin (Miller 21). However, he is afraid to confess because it will blacken his name forever. This fear of revealing the truth and destroying his good name is one of the main forces that prevents Proctor from initially approaching the court with the truth of Abigail’s deceit, for this knowledge would lead to others questioning their relation. This is exemplified through his resistance to Elizabeth’s persistence that he address the court, causing him to “quietly, struggle with his thought” and to become “angering” in his speech (Miller 53). Yet, this fear causes him to stall exposing the truth, until it is too late to stop the power hungry court. Along with people’s thirst for vengeance and for for-filling their personal needs, Proctor inadvertently allows the abuse of power to rage through Salem. While he had the ability to stop the abuse and some unnecessary panic in the community, his personal fears of ruining his reputation restrained him from doing so. Furthermore, while in an act of final desperation in he confesses his sins to sway the court from Abigail’s favor, having “rung the doom of [his] good name,” or sacrificing his reputation, it is far too

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