The characters in the play The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, have a lot of pride. They are all known as good citizens, for one reason or another, and they all would like to keep their good name. John Proctor would like to be known as the man who sticks up for the little person and always does the right thing. Reverend Parris is known for being the churchly figure that lives by the bible and its teachings. Judge Danforth wants to be known as a steadfast judge who always makes the right decisions. When put in a tough situation dealing with life or death, all of these characters choose to keep their reputations rather than do the right thing or saving their lives. The importance of having a good name is a very prominent theme in The Crucible.
John Proctor is the model citizen. He has good morals and tries to do the right things. He protects the innocent and does not budge from his beliefs. He has built up a lot of respect for his name. That is why it is hard for Proctor to give up his good name. Everyone sees him as the good guy. For example, Proctor had an affair with Abigail Williams. He can use this evidence in court to show that she is guilty, but he is reluctant to. He tries to find other ways to prove her guilty without losing his respect. Also, Proctor is able to get away free if he agrees to sign a paper saying he was an ally of the devil. He struggles to lie that he did work with the devil. When he is asked to sign a paper saying this, he can’t. The document would be hung on the church door for all to see. His reputation would be ruined. He stood up in court to save peoples lives by saying the truth, and it didn’t work. Proctor is able to save his own life by lying, but he just can not. He sees the others go down as noble people. It is not right to lie, so Proctor tears up the document and hangs with the others. He could not live with the guilt that his name would be tainted forever.
Reverend Parris does not want his good name to be tarnished either. Parris is known throughout the town as the churchly figure. Most citizens do not like his personality, but he is respected for his belief in religion. During the trials, Parris knows deep down that some of the people are not guilty. However, if he were to stand up for them and say they are innocent, he would be going against the bible. When he says that someone did not see the devil, he himself would be accused of making a pact with the devil. Parris has no respect other than his respect for being very religious. If he were to loose this respect, he would be ruined. He would be treated very poorly and he could do nothing about it. Parris can not loose his good name.
Lastly, Judge Danforth is known as a stolid judge who makes the right decisions and does not back down from them. Eventually, deep down he realizes that he is hanging innocent people. He knows that Abigail is putting on a show. Unfortunately, he has sentenced too many people before realizing this. If he were to back down, he would be showing that he killed innocent people and that he was wrong. He is known as being just and right. His name would be ruined. He could not do anything to gain his respect back. He would be questioned for his decisions in the past. He would loose his job. This is why Judge Danforth will not give up his good name.
Having a good reputation is very important in The Crucible. It means you can be accepted by society. If you do not have a good name, you will be completely rejected. John Proctor would no longer be thought of a morally straight and righteous person. Reverend Parris would loose all his respect and not be accepted by society. Judge Danforth would be constantly questioned and loose his job. Keeping and maintaining your good name is an overwhelming theme in The Crucible.