“It has often been said that what we value can be determined only by what we sacrifice.”- Anonymous. This quote applies to John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible since Proctor had to sacrifice his name and his hard-headed sense of pragmatism in order to be true to himself as his name seemed to be his most prized possession.
When John Proctor yells at Judge Danforth, “You are the high court, your word is good enough! Tell them I confessed myself; say Proctor broke his knees and wept like a woman; say what you will, but my name cannot–” (143) it seems to be that he doesn’t want his name posted on the church door because he doesn’t want people to know him as a man who once served the Devil and them to acknowledge that his name was/is blackened in the town. This also occurs when he says his most emotional speech (in my opinion), “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have 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!” (143) this shows us how much he cares for his name. In part, this quote shows his desire to not shame the other prisoners: he would not be able to live with himself knowing that other innocents died while he stood at death’s door and fled. More important, it reveals his obsession with his good name. Early in the play, Proctor’s desire to preserve his good name keeps him from testifying against Abigail. Now, however, he has come to understand the true meaning of what a good reputation means and what in action it requires, that he must tell the truth, and not lie to save himself. “I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” he yells in fury at Judge Danforth, Judge Hathorne, Hale, and Herrick; this defense of his name allows him to gather the courage to die, heroically, with his good name.
John Proctor shows his hard-headed sense of pragmatism because he sees other people for what they really are- for instance he is aware that paris is utterly selfish and greedy- and this shows that he can see right through all the witchcraft hysteria and recognize it for what it really is: a cover for people to bring old feuds, grudges, and hatred out into the open. It is also, of course, the result of fear which spreads so rapidly throughout the community. There is nothing supernatural going on, though, and proctor is one of the few who realize this. Therefore his common-sense approach to life his pragmatism, also leads him to conflict with the court and motivates hi final self-sacrifice. He refuses to yield to the suggestion of evil supernatural forces that he personally does not believe in.
John Proctor show’s us that if we die by telling the truth then we have done right and that we value whatever it is we have sacrificed in order to be true to our own selves. He in my opinion is the true hero in The Crucible and in our modern world if it was taught to all.