The True Hero in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

The True Hero in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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The True Hero of The Crucible

 

Through out the ages the inevitable dilemma of the balance of power is always seen where the governing super power wants to fullycontrol an individual through every aspect of their life. This description nodoubt, fully describes the Puritan belief system in Salem, where the church/court has the authority over everything or else itâˆ(tm)s of the devil. The conceptof individuality is highly resented making everyone follow the leader withoutthought. However there are those who question the authority when situation seemto surpass reason. In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, Proctor, astrong steadfast farmer resides in the small town of Salem, which is engulfedin hysteria due to the accusations of children that many of the townâˆ(tm)s peoplehad partaken in witchcraft. Among the accused is he (Proctor). Proctor is theonly individual willing to question the puritan belief system. He believes thatno man (church/court) should have control over the life of the other. Only Godhas the power to judge and condemn. Therefore, choosing the more tragic outcome by not allowing himself to lose his individuality and sense of self;conflict of ethics between what is right from wrong as well as sheer lack ofcommon sense. Through Proctor, miller shows how an individual should notallow society to divest their sense of self, Instead, hold unto onesindividuality as well as integrity and not let society have the upper hand,leading one to lose their sense of right and wrong.

 

While some chose life and falsely admitted towitchcraft, John Proctor stayed unconvinced by what society dictated(witchcraft) and assumed; that the girls were a manifestation from God. Heattempted to prove the children were making fraudulent claims. Proctor was very much in doubt of witchcraft inSalem. He slowly established that the children were lying in court with respectto their accusations of the townâˆ(tm)s people. Proctor argued that the accusationsgoing on in Salem were not necessarily based on witchcraft, instead, ∜awhores vengeance∝(110). Many people were Gods servants for a very long timeso ∜it was hard to think so pious of a woman/man be secretly a devils b**chafter seventy years of such good prayer∝(64). Miller uses this opportunityto show the reader that Proctor, unlike the townâˆ(tm)s people, ∜ is eventempered and not easily led.

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∝ Miller describes this as a weakness societyhas. It does not assess the issue of witchcraft itself, instead just followswhat the crowd says. Society is pathetically led easily. In his attempt to endthis mob justice frame of mind society has about witchcraft proctor confesseshis perverse act of adultery with Abigail. Proctor does not deny thefact that he had committed a sin. Instead he doesnâˆ(tm)t let his ∜spirit twistaround the single error of his life∝(62). Neither does he say itâˆ(tm)s becauseof someone else he did it. Proctor ∜like a Christian (in a way)confesses∝(55). Miller clarifies that Proctors actions are acceptable bycomparing to what society would do if they were in the same situation. He(miller) shows the  ∜stiff neckedpeople∝(11) of Salem that as humans, they are destined to sin one way oranother. But instead of admitting to their sins and wrongdoings, they blameshift it to some one else. The concept of self-blame has no relevance to them.Proctor concludes that   all the chargedof lechery, are out of guilt, or in Abigailâˆ(tm)s case, out of retribution.

 

Proctor is the individual who must decide weatheror not he will assert himself against an overbearing authoritarian government.He is not so religious, nor the perfect Christian, and also not so adherent tothe puritan laws and beliefs. Onthe contrary proctor would not be considered the greatest Christian.  His belief in the non-existence ofwitchcraft and his opposition on the court/ church having divine control overall, gives him the free will to fully and honestly ∜speak his heart∝(30) aboutthe puritan society he dwells in.  WhenPutnam and Parris attempt to prove his innocence by interrogating him about whyhe hasnâˆ(tm)t attended church on the Sabbath as he is obligated to, Proctor bluntlycriticizes the religionâˆ(tm)s rules by saying that, ∜ [he] have trouble enough[coming] five miles to hear [Parris] preach only hellfire and bloody damnation.Take it to heart Mr. Parris. There are many others who stay away from churchthese days because you hardly ever mention God anymore∝(28).   Through Proctors indictment, Miller showshow the societyâˆ(tm)s people have no say about what they think or feel aboutcertain situations. He shows the quality of individuality that society doesnâˆ(tm)thave. Society thinks and acts for everybody. Miller shows the reader thatproctor speaks of what he believes in since no man dares to speak abhorrentlyof the church or the reverend. He shows an indivisible loyalty to his beliefs,which do not include the ∜golden candle sticks∝ or ∜hell fire sermons∝ (28).Miller criticizes societyâˆ(tm)s acts that compare to those of sheep. Just as theshepherd leads sheep to the slaughterhouse, the church leader and courtofficials are leading Salem to hell.

 

Proctor comes close to confessing to witchcraftbut realizes that it disgraces his good name and that his name is all he hasleft both for himself and his family.In doing so he irrefutably dashes all his hopes of living as well as officiallysignâˆ(tm)s his death warrant. Proctor believes that when he dies, nothing is betterthan leaving a clean, decent, and an indisputable name for his family. ∜ Ihave three children- how may I teach them to walk like men in the world ∝ (143)when I have sold my friends and my good name? Miller uses this climax to revealthose who are truly pure in heart, and rips the false notion of Christianityeverybody is taking refuge in. He uses proctor to completely degrade the socialstatus that Salem is in but more of its residents. He shows how proctor iswilling to die just to shield his familyâˆ(tm)s good name even though he isto lose his life all together (society doesnâˆ(tm)t). Miller shows that while oneman is willing to die for such a simple fixation, society is not at all willingto sacrifice itself to keep its dignity. Proctor questions, ∜would you givesuch a lie? (Being a witch) would you ever give them this? You would not iftongs of fire were singeing you. You would not! It is evil∦∝(138). Millershows how people are willing to give up their sense of right and wrong justbecause they are stuck between a rock and a hard spot. He illustrates a flawthat society has and how itâˆ(tm)s ready to betray whomever for its own personalgain and furthermore itâˆ(tm)s ready to lose its pride. Proctor also puts in plainwords that he is against societyâˆ(tm)s demands when he says ∜ because it is myname! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign my selfto lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How mayI live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name∝ (143).Proctor in a way says that society can get over sin (witchcraft) as he did toadultery, but getting over a destroyed name is impossible. Proctor tells thereader that death it self is not enough to justify a wrongdoing. Society lacksthis particular quality because at the first sign of execution it doesnâˆ(tm)tmatter to what or whom it is selling its name to. Neither was it ready tosacrifice it self to protect it.

 

Thereader can make the assumption that Proctor is truly the heroic figure in theplay even though; he doesnâˆ(tm)t necessarily play the important role of a minister.Ironically, the minister is established as the worst role in the puritansociety. Proctor learns the strength of his will, and the power ofhis name. He stands and protects his individuality. He knows that it isimportant above all to preserve his name and his integrity. He as well pointsto others what is sheer lack of common sense in letting a government make onesdecisions. He is a character like no other who finds his true self in heap ofrubble. John Proctor has tested his wits, his strength and his will. Because ofthis, he is wiser and strongest to the end. He is the only individual who matures fully psychologically, spiritually, and emotionally because he had so much to loose.

 
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