The Conflicting Concepts Of Morality In The Crucible By Arthur Miller

Decent Essays
Miller uses the protagonist of “The Crucible”, John Proctor, to explore the conflicting concepts of morality. For the purpose of this essay, I shall be interpreting the terms “good” and “bad” to relate to the morally acceptable acts in the puritanical society that the play was set in. As a result of Miller portraying the Salem community as an allegory for McCarthyism in 1950s America, the character of Proctor may have been crafted to show aspects of Miller’s experience of McCarthyism. Based on this, the reader is left with such questions: do your good actions actually make you good or must one obey the rules of society to even be considered good?
When the audience is first introduced to John Proctor in Act One, the impression created is that
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There is the possibility that Abigail and Proctor’s relationship was a repercussion of the restrictions enforced by society, which is why Proctor wishes to rectify his mistake. When Proctor returned home from Salem, he “takes a pinch of salt” to add to the food cooked by Elizabeth. There are many connotations as to what this symbolises. One interpretation could be that the romance between Elizabeth and Proctor has been lost, and hence has become bland. So the addition of salt could be Proctor trying to spruce up their relationship. Alternatively, the lack of flavour in their food could symbolise the lack of trust in their relationship which is why the addition of salt may be Proctor trying to re-establish the trust in their relationship. Miller conveys the absence of trust in Elizabeth and Proctor’s relationship through Elizabeth’s monosyllabic responses as well as her use of short sentences when talking to her husband. The simplicity of her responses may emphasise her annoyance at the knowledge that their relationship has lost trust. At this particular instance of the play, Miller creates tension between Elizabeth and Proctor perhaps as a dramatic device to deter the audience from believing that their relationship positively …show more content…
At first, Proctor admits to sinning since he believes that he is “no saint” because he committed adultery. However, complications arise when Proctor refuses to allow the tarnishing of his name once he is required to sign his name on a document that would be displayed to the whole community. For Proctor, there is only so much he can do before his name is blackened before the entire town, he has “given his soul” but he hopes that they “leave him his name”. During the Red Scare of the 1950s, people whose names were given to the HUAC often lost their careers and their livelihoods. Understandably, Proctor held this fear of losing everything and so the idea of a “name” would have been held on to by any individual who wishes to maintain a sense of their own selfhood. For that reason, Miller uses the importance of a name to present ideas about good in the character of John

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