The Importance Of NonConformity The Crucible Essay

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The Importance Of Non-Conformity: The Crucible Essay, Research Paper The Importance of Non-Conformity Thomas Paine once wrote, ?These are the times that try men’s souls.? He of course was speaking of the difficulty the colonists faced during the Revolutionary war. However, we see that throughout history there have been numerous times when man has been faced with great dilemmas, the outcomes of which have had an effect on society as a whole. Those who lived in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, were faced with such similar struggles. Some of these battles were outwardly fought and others were the, sometimes more brutal, internal battles, in which the victor had a strong effect on the whole Salem community. The outcomes of the inner conflicts found in the characters of this

novel, were based upon whether or not the players chose to submit to the pressures put upon them by a society that was rooted in the strict control of all aspects of life. Throughout the play Jon Proctor, in looking out for he and his wife?s welfare, his soul and name, and the town, makes decisions which are of important consequence to himself and to the greater community. In The Crucible, we see through John Proctor?s various motivations, Arthur Miller?s underlying theme of the difficulty and importance for one to be an individual in a society of conformists. Proctor being concerned only with himself and behaving like a true conformist does not submit his knowledge of the falsity of the witch trials, nor of the adultery he committed with Abigail Williams. Primarily, realizing

that it is likely that the court will not believe him, John is not readily inclined to go against what most of the community considers as true and tell the court that the girls are a fraud. John understands that the consequence for such a charge is great and so he is afraid of getting caught up in unnecessary trouble with the town. He had the power very early on to stop the witch trials; however, he chooses to keep his silence; hence the number of accused continued to grow. Furthermore, Proctor realizes? with a deep hatred of himself,? that Abigail may denounce him by admitting to their lechery. John had committed adultery and had absolutely no intentions of admitting it to anyone because he was not willing to pay the town?s consequences for his act. So when he finds, in the end

of Act Two, that Abigail could ruin him without bringing her own ?saintliness? down, he is disgusted with himself for not telling of his fornification when he had the chance to destroy her reputation. Later, we see that even when he does admit to it, with great difficulty and shame, and openly discredit himself, the court does not believe him. Proctor, had he not been so concerned with his reputation, could have possibly stopped the witch trials very early on. John, fearing for his wife?s welfare, goes against his beliefs so that he may look like a traditional Puritan in front of those who are judging him. Initially, although Proctor does not believe in the existence of witchcraft, he says to Hale, ? I have no knowledge of it; the Bible speaks of witches, and I will not deny

them.? John, in trying to convince Hale of the ? Christian character? of their household, is yielding himself to the ignorance of the community, which he knows in his heart to be false. Moreover, John has shown that even the most individualistic person in the community can be oppressed if faced with a high enough stake. Also, When Cheever tells Danforth that Proctor ripped up the warrant for his wife?s arrest, John?s reply is, ? It were a temper, sir. I knew not what I did.? Proctor is correct in saying that he was angry; however, he knew well enough what he was doing and in saying this he makes himself look as if he has no control over his actions. He is lowering himself to the oppressors? level and exhibiting the respect for Danforth that is expected from him, but which he does