Theme Of Reputation In The Crucible

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Reputation; what significance does this one word have that a Spanish proverb states, “He who has lost his reputation is a dead man among the living”? According to the townspeople in theocratic Salem, an individual was to become prestigious and sacrifice everything for a good name. There was no such thing as private moralities, instead, a person’s reputation was a public matter showcased for the town to judge and discern. Nothing is more unimaginable than having to lose an influential position. Throughout the play “The Crucible”, individuals base their actions on safeguarding or earning a standing. Miller uses the characterization of Reverend Parris and John Proctor to demonstrate that when one exclusively focuses on the preservation of their …show more content…
For example, when Reverend Parris discovers the girls dancing in the forest, he hastily warns Abigail that his reputation is in jeopardy by conveying, “Now look you, child, your punishment will come in its time. But if you trafficked with spirits in the forest I must know it now, for surely my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it” (10). Since Abigail is family, Parris has no tolerance when it comes to his reputation so he willingly enforces discipline to maintain his status. Also, as a minister, his role is to preach about God and salvation; Abigail’s association of communing with the Devil could lead others to question his authority and words. In addition, when Mr. and Mrs. Putnam went to Parris’s house to inquire the occurrence of witchcraft, he expresses his feelings by stating, “We cannot leap to witchcraft. They will howl me out of Salem for such corruption in my house” (14). Desiring to maintain his reputation leads Parris to conduct his behavior with a disgraceful demeanor, while compelling others to support his dishonesty. The importance that Parris places on his good name results in him being blindsided from the truth. Reverend Parris’ manipulations and deceptive manner conceal his unexplainable …show more content…
For instance, while at court, Danforth inquires why John Proctor did not confess of lechery sooner; he exclaims, “A man will not cast away his good name. You surely know that” (110). Proctor’s need to hold onto his reputation results in him withholding information that may have saved many innocent individuals. He did not want to ruin his good name by the town discovering him as an atrocious person, although, if Proctor revealed his transgression earlier, he could have prevented increasing amounts of guilt and thus maintained some dignity. Furthermore, while John Proctor contemplates his decision to confess, he decides he cannot sign; “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life...How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!”(143). Although he is willing to verbalize his confession, Proctor has no inclination for writing it down because by doing so, his reputation would be ruined. Printing his name, he believes will make his words become a reality and cause damage to his standing in the community. His dying breath was to preserve his honor instead of wanting to live life with a tainted name. John Proctor's reputation was based on what he believed was right, but in truth, he lost his sense of

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