Jada HollandMrs. CanelaEnglish 11 H14 December 2017The Importance of Reputations in The CrucibleWarren Buffett once said, “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it”. This quote is saying that for someone to accept a good reputation, it is crucial to meet high expectations. However, to lose a good reputation is very effortless and could take all but ten seconds. When people think about what might happen if their reputation is lost or influenced badly, they will most likely act completely different to preserve their good names. In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, reputation is extremely important, especially in a town where social standing is tied to how religious one is seen as.
However, when witchcraft enters the town, the good names of the accused is completely inconsequential. An analysis of The Crucible exhibits that Abigail Williams, John Proctor, and Reverend Parris all supply evidence on how imperative reputations are in Salem, being that they would sacrifice their free lives to salvage their good names.To begin, Abigail Williams is a character whose reputation is everything for her.
Her good name in the town is the only way that she gains power over people by making them trust and believe her accusations. All of her actions are impacted by the fear of losing her reputation. If her secret life of sleeping around with men is exposed, and she loses her good reputation, she will not be able to get a good job as a housemaid. After Abigail starts making accusations after Tituba confesses, she says to Parris, “My name is good in the village! I will not have it said my name be soiled! Goody Proctor is a gossiping liar!” (I.
10). After rumors of witchcraft arose in the town, Parris began to have doubts about Abigail’s true character. She is arguing that her name is good in the village and she will not have the fact that she was fired by the Proctors destroy that. She needs Parris to care for her and if she makes a bad image for his house, he will lose the appreciation he once had for her. Abigail feels that if she wants to be respected in the town it is better to lie and protect her reputation than to be her true self, that is why she hides her true being and blames others for her sins.
To her, her good name is much more important than the truth. Next, Reverend Parris is the character most aware of the importance of reputation in the novel. Pariss’s selfishness is perfectly displayed by Miller, and he demonstrates how he has no sympathy even for his own daughter on her deathbed. In Act 1, Parris is informed that there have been rumors of witchery in the town, and he automatically realizes how his reputation as a well-respected priest will be affected. He says,”Abigail, I have fought here three long years to bend these stiff-necked people to me, and now, just now when some good respect is rising for me in the parish, you compromise my very character. I have given you a home, child…” (I.9). This quote shows how all the hard work that he has done to get his good name in the village will be destroyed if the rumors get out.
He then speaks to Susanna, trying to convince her that there is nothing unnatural in the town. Since Betty is “spelled”, he is now concerned about his occupation as a priest because people will no longer trust and respect his faith in God if he works in a town of witchery. He says, “Go directly home and speak nothing of unnatural causes” (I.8). He uses an aggressive tone to show how important the fact that he can lose his job.Finally, John Proctor, one of the last people accused of witchcraft, faces death because of the rumors and false accusations.
He also attempts to overthrow the court. John’s reputation as a strong man is most important to him because it is all he has to outshine others. To protect his name, he ultimately confesses to dealing with the devil. However, when he is asked for the names of others in the village who are connected to the witchery, he doesn’t speak a word. He also does not sign a paper for his confession so the whole town will have proof that he confessed. By doing this, he is showing he cares about what people think of him more than the fact that his life is on the line.
He says “Because it is my name! Because I cannot house another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! 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!” (IV.143). Since Proctor’s reputation is as a strong man of faith and a hard- worker, he does not want his name to be out in the village as a man who is weak, and confessing would bring him just that. He wants to remain respected in the village above all.
In conclusion, reputation is crucial in theocratic Salem, where public and private moralities are one and the same. Focused on maintaining public reputation, the citizens of Salem fear that the sins of their friends will taint their names. Based on the evidence prior, Abigail, Parris, and Proctor base their actions on the desire to protect their respective reputations throughout the novel.