Get help from the best in academic writing.

The Foolish Death of John Proctor in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

John Proctor’s Death as Foolish in The Crucible

In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, John Proctor, a proud and frustrated farmer of Salem, chooses to die rather than to give a false confession to witchcraft. Many might view this act as that of a selfless martyr; on the other hand, it can more readily be seen as the height of human stupidity in the face of vanity and pride.

John Proctor is, at first, willing to offer up a false confession that his life may be spared. Inevitably, John Proctor possesses that fateful attribute known to fall fatal to many human beings – pride. While he has, indeed, been ashamed of his many sins throughout his life, Proctor’s soul still clings to his pride and his good name, however soiled it may have become. On the morning scheduled for his execution, Proctor wrestles with the realization that one more sin so heaped upon the rest in his life will make precious little difference in the end; “I cannot mount the gibbet like a saint. It is a fraud. I am not that man…. My honesty is broke… I am no good man. Nothing’s spoiled by giving them this lie.” (126) He attempts to calm his pride by telling himself that the other accused witches who will not give false testimony to save themselves from the gallows have every right to do so; they led lives free of blame. He, however, he tells himself, did no such thing; what right has he to hang among the righteous? “Let them that never lied die now to keep their souls. It is pretense for me, a vanity that will nor blind God nor keep my children out of the wind.” (126) Thus the conviction first reached by John Proctor is to save his life rather than to throw it away in mock martyrdom.
However, that pride, which he is trying so hard to repress, seizes hold of…

… middle of paper …

…umbed him to – that this death will not accomplish anything great as Proctor hopes. The death of John Proctor will be his own fault, no other’s, and what a sad and pathetic waste it will be.

And so there goes a silly little man, bent by pride, forth to the gallows and whatever fate may await him beyond. Indeed, what legacy did John Proctor leave to his wife, left homeless, without a husband? What legacy did John Proctor leave his children, abandoned by their father in a fit of selfish vanity? What message was left for his children who would forever live in the knowledge that their father cared more for his good name than for his own sons and their welfare? What memory would he leave to the world which could not save him, what legacy to the world? There goes the silly little man, bent by pride, striding away from the family that needs him, towards his fate.

Good and Evil in Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Good and Evil in Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Though the central action of Tomas Hardy’s novel “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” centres on Tess, the other characters are not lacking in interest and individuality. Undoubtedly, Tess’s life is marked by two contradictory temperaments, those of the sensual Alec d’Urberville and the intellectual Angel Clare. Both characters are described with artistic detail to show a blend of weakness and strength governed by fate. Both are flesh and symbol complementing the other in the fall and rise, rise and fall again of Tess herself, and both play crucial roles in shaping her destiny.

Although Alec is the evil man in Tess’s life, he has some good qualities, coming trough us more as a man than Angel does. Alec is tall with a dark complexion, crude red lips and black moustache. There are touches of barbarism in his contour as well as a singular force in his face. Alec feels sexually attracted to Tess from the very beginning and showing to be straightforward with regard to what he wants and how to achieve it, he will do anything to take her. Finally, his dark instincts reveal and taking advantage of Tess’s youth and innocence, he seduces her. Although we cannot forgive him for raping Tess, we have to recognise that he is not a complete villain. What he shows is a combination of desire to master her again and a genuine regard for her welfare. He is troubled for his sight of her agonizing labor at Flintcomb Ash, he reacts against society for its cruel treatment of Tess’s family and he offers to help her in a variety of ways. Nevertheless, Alec is angry at her ingratitude and very often taunts her about her missing husband, until in the end Tess kills him.

The other man in Tess’s life is Angel Clar…

… middle of paper …

…d on a number of levels: Alec abuses Tess in the flesh but Angel in the spirit; Alec’s condemnation of Tess’s husband finds its equivalent in Angel’s unspoken condemnation of Tess’s seducer. Alec returns, Angel doesn’t until too late; Alec is in Tess’s mind her real husband, while Angel who marries her is not and does not consummate the marriage, at least not, until too late.

Consequently, it seems to be certain that neither Alec is completely bad nor Angel completely good. In both Hardy is presenting male dominance, with the resulting reduction of the woman in both, the flesh and the spirit. On one side Angel seems to be a better man than Alec but on the other, it is Angel rather than Alec who destroys Tess with his rejection. In conclusion, although different, both men help her and both contribute to her ruin. In relation to both, Tess is in each case a victim.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.