Explain John Proctor's Struggle with his Conscience

Satisfactory Essays
Explain John Proctor's Struggle with his Conscience


The conscience, the knowledge of right and wrong that affects actions

and behaviour; the senses of guilt or virtue indeed by actions,

behaviour etc. An innermost thought. (PH English dictionary)

John Proctor has a terrible struggle with his conscience, particularly

towards the end of the play. John proctors conscience is tell him that

he shouldn't give into the pressure of the court, that he should stand

proud and not tell the court lies. His conscience is telling him he

shouldn't lie or defy the court and then his death, hanging from the

noose, can be a proud one, accepted with honour after making his love

and more importantly his peace with God.

However his natural instinct, given to him upon his birth is telling

him to lie. That he should lose his good name, confess to dealing with

witchcraft. Telling him to lose some, perhaps all the respect people

have for him but to keep his life. To lose his dignity but to keep his

life. To live to see his children grow up, to see his unborn child be

born, to watch his wife grow old with him. But most importantly to

live, and to be free, and not to experience death till he is older.

Live and lie, losing your dignity and all the respect you've earned,

or die, but keep your good name, and let your children grow up with a

good name. Leaving your life with an unblemished name.

John chose death, although before he chose death he was prepared to

choose life, he wanted to live, yet more than this he wanted an

unblemished name. More importantly than this he wanted his children,

and their children, and their children's children to have a name to be

proud of. Proctor. He did not want them to be left with the name of a


Because it is my name (The Crucible, Act 4)

John Proctor says the above quote, which simply reinforces everything

I wrote earlier. John does not want to give up his name; he cannot

have another in this life. Better to have one unblemished name. Than

to have hundreds of names all tainted in one way or another. John does

not want to give up his good name; he would rather give up his life,

which we see in the rather gruesome and sudden ending of the play.

This shows John Proctors personal struggle with himself. He wanted to

live, yet he also wanted to keep his good name. He couldn't do both

and in the end he chose his name. He was fighting with himself right