Theme Of Guilt In The Crucible

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Pages: 4

Jealousy, hysteria, greed, and guilt are just a few of the themes portrayed in the novel “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller. In his novel, Arthur Miller recreates the wrongful allegations during the Salem witch trials. These trials were performed because they were accusations amongst friends and neighbors of witch craft. Each character is connected to one or more of the themes. For example, John Proctor, the first male accused of witchcraft, is motivated critically by guilt. In coming forth with the truth about his affair John Proctor hoped to save his wife, but is unsuccessful in doing so. John Proctor an intimidating farmer in his mid 30’s transforms from a guilt-ridden sinner to an honorable man.

Initially, John Proctor is a guilt ridden
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After John signs the confession he becomes upset and proclaims,“ Damn the village! I confess to God, and God has seen my name on this! It is enough!”(142). He believes that the actual writing of his name represents who he is as a man. Signing the confession would be the final loss of his reputation. This shows his will on how much he wants to keep his name clean. Miller puts this line in the book to show how eager John is to keep a good reputation. John realizes how it will be without his name and is very upset and states, “Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!”(143). Proctor is upset because he believes all he has left is his name this means a lot to him and he does not want it to have a bad reputation so he keeps bugging the judge. Miller puts Proctors voice this way to emphasize how much his name really means to him. He proclaims this because he does not know what he would do without his name. John finally realizing that he has a shred of goodness in him says “I can. And there’s your first marvel, that I can. You have made your magic now, for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs. Give them no tear! Tears pleasure them! Show honor now, show a stoney heart and sink them with it!”(144). Miller uses this to show how John is becoming a tragic hero. He says this because he knows he is going to die but does not know if he will die an honest man, although he wants to. Lastly, Miller shows how John becomes an honest, noble, tragic