The Fear Of Reputation In Arthur Miller's The Crucible

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Reputation plays a large role in everyone’s life. Because of this, people act irrationally to defend it. Some even go as far as to betray their morals or put themselves in danger to protect their reputation. A large part of defending reputation is the fear of becoming a social outcast. The unprincipled characters within The Crucible manipulate the truth out of fear in order to safeguard their reputation.
The protagonist, John Proctor, fails to reveal that he partook in an affair with the antagonist, Abigail Williams, so that his reputation as a respectable man is not ruined. When Abigail approaches John Proctor to discuss their affair, he denies that it ever happened. “Abby, that’s a wild thing to say” (Miller I. 556-557). John denies it so that his wife does not find out about the affair. Even after his wife questions him about his relationship with Abigail, John Proctor still refuses to reveal the whole truth when he says,“I have good reason to think before I charge fraud on Abigail, and I will think on it”
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Most lies told are for the purpose of protecting one’s reputation. As seen in The Crucible, many main characters lie in order to protect their reputation. According to David J. Ley, Ph.D., most people who constantly tell lies “are often worried about losing the respect of those around them. They want you to like them, be impressed, and value them. And they’re worried that the truth might lead you to reject or shame them” (Ley 5). The characters in The Crucible are no different. Governor Danforth lies so that his reputation as a prestigious judge is safeguarded, and John Proctor lies to uphold his reputation as a respectable man. Neither Governor Danforth nor John Proctor’s lives are in danger and yet they lie anyways, and so their lies are told for their reputation, not their

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