Crucible: Human Obsession with Reputation
Human’s are everchanging and constantly evolving people, but some things remain true even today and were also true 300 years ago. Reputation has always been something people have held very dear, even if it means discarding things or people close to them. The dignity showed by characters in “ The Crucible”, and society today reveals the fragility of human relationships and self-worth based on how others view you. People view reputation as very important, and it can be seen that it is to an extent. Some cultures (the Chinese and Japanese) even integrate reputation into their lifestyle, and without reputation, they won’t even bother showing their faces outside. Reputation is very relatable to today’s society, and one such example is The eBay feedback system. The eBay feedback system is a prime example of reputation being used in service. Because buyers and sellers on eBay usually have never met each other, neither has any reason to believe that the other will follow through with the deal. But this is all understandable, but not showing your face in public, or avoiding certain people is just ridiculous. Our society needs to understand that even though reputation is important, there are some things to prioritize before our dignity. Just like with eBay, there are assurances in life to make sure you don’t lose everything if anything.
In The Crucible, the witch hunts are used to show how retaining one’s notoriety provides a reason to act. In the play, the Salem witch trials might not have even taken place if Reverend Parris hadn’t been so hooked about how the townspeople would judge him over his daughter’s “shameless” dancing in the woods. Abigail’s original goal was to take revenge against Elizabeth Proctor, but this goal progressively changes to the preservation of her reputation as a ‘good girl’ as John Proctor divulged information that he had an adulterous affair with her. Deputy Governor Danforth worries more about seeming feeble in the eyes of the townsfolk than killing honest people. In all of these cases, these characters are driven to “sin” for the purpose of protecting their public images. From start to finish John Proctor also focuses on the importance of reputation. Still, John Proctor’s focus is on the preservation of his private image of himself. He believes him acknowledging that he committed adultery, will destroy his public image, which therefore will prove his honesty, a trait of immense value to him, as ‘A man will not [easily] cast away his good name. You surely know that.’ In Act 4 he goes so far as to shred his signed confession and sentenced himself to death: ‘How may I live without my name?’ In the end, John Proctor is spurred to honor his private image of himself rather than to maintain his life through a false confession.
In conclusion, if we weren’t so hung up over how others view us, we would have fewer hardships in life. It is true that John Proctor lost his life as he was hung up over how he would be viewed if he continued to live. Reputation has been something that we have created to be viewed as important, and if we didn’t we wouldn’t have to face a backlash that we created ourselves.
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