John Proctor's Choice of Truth in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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The Crucible: John Proctor's Choice of Truth

Throughout history, the most credible source of information has been documented on paper. From treaties resulting in international peace to The Declaration of Independence, paper has provided a concrete, timeless resource for recording ideas, events and decisions. What makes these documents valid, are the signatures of those supporting the writings. By signing something, one shows that he recognizes what is written and wishes to show support for what it represents. A signature is as unique as the person signing it. One can be held accountable for all which he marks with his signature. The significance of signed paper is well displayed in Arthur Miller's The Crucible. In this play
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He decided that a lie was a minute sin in comparison to voluntarily giving up the life with which God blessed him. After signing his confession, he was notified that it would be hung above the church entrance for all to see. Besides believing that publicity was unnecessary to a valid confession, Proctor did not want to blacken his name. Because of committing adultery, he knew what it was like to live with a bad reputation and did not want his sons to have to live with a name marked by witchcraft. Proctor crumbled up the paper in front of his accusers and chose death rather than advertise a lie.

Proctor also realized that he held an influential position in Salem and that, by admitting to witchery, he would supply reason to believe that the entire trial was indeed valid. Reverend Hail also realized this and up until the second Proctor is hung, he was insistent that Proctor confess. By choosing death and denying involvement, Proctor resisted condemning the fellow town's people who had already been accused. He says, "I speak my sins; I cannot judge another. I have not the tongue for it." (Miller, IV 1255) By doing so he hoped that the town would accept the truth, that the entire event was no more than a lie carried out by a group of adolescent girls.

By the end of the play, John felt as though he had been stripped of all. His wife had been sentenced to death and he had confessed to adultery. He knew that he would…