In literature as in life, people are confronted by difficult situations. In them, some people act honorably, but other individuals behave shamefully. In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, two characters find themselves involved in challenging situations. One chooses to behave honorably and maintain his integrity, while the other chooses to behave shamefully and ruin the reputation of others.
First, Arthur Miller creates a complex situation for one character to show how honorable he is. John Proctor, Elizabeth Proctor's husband, has a difficult decision to make. On the eve of his execution, Mr. Parris and Mr. Hale walk around the jail cells to see if any of the prisoners would confess for being involved in witchcraft. They do not wish for John Proctor to be hanged, so they have his wife come and talk to him.
Proctor asks Elizabeth, "'What would you have me do?' " (Miller 136). She responds to him, "'As you will, I would have it... I want you living John, that's for sure'" (Miller 136). It is plain to Proctor that everyone, even his wife, wants him to live and to confess to coercing with the Devil. However, Proctor knows that it is wrong.
He is aware that God will judge him for lying about his false confession. He is also aware that other innocent people that are sentenced to be hanged, such as Rebecca Nurse, would be astonished to see Proctor confessing (Miller 139). After tearing up his confession in front of the judge, the marshal, and even his wife, Proctor declares, "'I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor.' " His honorable act was remaining truthful to himself and to the rest of the town, even if it meant his life. In another thorny situation, a main character proves herself to be honorable or shameful. In this case, Abigail Williams is the character to perform a shameful act during the court trial. Previously, Abigail has committed adultery with Proctor.
In a fit of rage, Proctor calls Abigail a "whore" in the court room and Danforth demands Proctor to prove it (Miller 109-110). Proctor confesses to lechery and says that his wife threw Abigail out of their house for being a "harlot" (Miller 110). Abigail knows that if she is found guilty for being a whore, she is under the mercy of the court. So when Danforth asks if Proctor's accusation is true, she says that if she must answer that, she will leave and never come back (Miller 111). She wants to save her name. The reader is well aware that Abigail has lied to Danforth and has acted poorly.
By lying, she has acted dishonorably and has not found favor in the eyes of the reader. I believe that when people are confronted by difficult situations, their reactions define their character. Despite the fact that the situation may bring out the worst in the person, it gives us an idea of what is in their heart. For instance, when pedestrian is accidentally hit by a car, the driver must decide to be both honorable, and pay what is due of them, or drive away without feeling the guilt or taking responsibility. The Crucible can be related to this because throughout the play, Miller places people in difficult situations, such as Elizabeth Procter and how she needed to declare whether her husband was a lecher or not in the court. In conclusion, when confronted with difficult situations, some people act honorably, while other individuals behave shamefully..