Evidence of Vanity in Puritanical Works

Good Essays
Evidence of Vanity in Puritanical Works
You’ll never get a job dressed like that. You need to stop acting so ditzy if you want people to take you seriously. Stop running your fingers through your hair—you don’t want people to think you’re a slob. Occasionally, thoughts like these pop up in my mind, probably because I care too much about what others think of me. I get really concerned about how people perceive me and interpret my actions. However, I’m not really concerned about vanity being my great flaw or becoming the next Narcissus, because everyone is a little vain. Unfortunately, some people take their pride a little overboard. For instance, John Proctor was so vain that he would rather die than tarnish his name; the judges that condemned him had an inkling of knowledge that they were killing innocent people, but by the time they realized it, they couldn’t save people without ruining their reputation. Arthur Dimmesdale let the mother of his child suffer years of judgment because he didn’t want to face the shame of revealing his sin. These instances show that humans are naturally vain and that, occasionally, their vanity can rule over their lives.
The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, contains several examples of vanity and its consequences; the most notable example is John Proctor and his refusal to taint his name. Proctor confesses to witchcraft in order to save his life; however, he tears up his signature when the judges reveal that they will publicize his confession. When asked why he does this, he famously says that he is not worth the dust on the feet of those who have hanged. He states that his name, the only one he will ever have, would be taken from him. This may seem like a strange obsession with his own name...

... middle of paper ...

..., then you won’t have to face the horrendous consequences of your vanity. John Proctor would have lived to see another day if he had just given up his name; the judges of Salem could have atoned for their sins by saving a few lives and admitting their mistakes. Dimmesdale wouldn’t have had to suffer in silence and solitude if he had lowered himself from his pulpit and stood by Hester. I hope that someday vanity won’t be a motivator for people, but it seems that a time like that is still far off. I mean, I still use my pride as incentive for doing things, even if there are less harmful ways to enthuse myself. So yes, humans are vain and full of pride and egotistical; however, this does not excuse people for their lies and mistakes. Rather, the knowledge that is contained within these works of literature should inspire people to change that aspect of their life.
Get Access