Heroism in the Crucible

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Mads Szklany

English 11

Mr. Doty

March 29, 2010

Heroism in The Crucible

Often people have to endure tests of character in order to prove who they are. It is when people have to face great opposition that their character is truly shown; we see whether people are heroes or cowards. Those who are heroic always stand up for their morals and never back down and do selfless acts for the good of others. When people encounter moments where they have to face opposition they can do either of two things; they can stand up for what they believe in and do what they think is the right thing to do, or they can sit back and let someone else do it and simply try to ignore the problem. The ones who always stand up for what they believe are the people who are true heroes. People who have a heroic character will constantly rise up and speak out loud when they see that something wrong is going on. The people who are heroes are incredibly important to society, because they are the people who work for a better tomorrow; they are the people who are willing to sacrifice themselves for something better.

In The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, there are multiple characters that show the quality of a hero when faced with opposition. I believe that the four characters that showed the most “hero” quality were john Proctor, Elizabeth Proctor, Rebecca Nurse and Giles Corey. Rebecca Nurse is a good and simple example of someone who is a hero. She is a hero from the beginning to the end of the story. From the start she is willing to sacrifice her own life for her morals, which shown how strong a character she is. Even when she is repeatedly being pleaded by Reverend Hale to confess to witchcraft in order to save her own life, she refuses, because she knows it is a lie and lying is against her good morals. The heroes, Giles and Proctor, are more complex and grow to become heroes in the book.

In the beginning of the book Giles Corey does not appear to be a hero. However, throughout the book he begins to play more and more the role of a hero. In the beginning of the book Giles is seen as more of an annoying person who will do bad things to benefit himself, but he changes throughout the book. When the witch hunts start he does not really believe in witchcraft, however, he is still curious about it and wants to ask the expert, Reverend Hale, some questions. Giles accidently makes his wife look like a witch when he starts asking Hale questions. Giles asks Hale about his wife, “I have waked at night many a time and found her in a corner, readin’ of a book. Now what do I make of that?” (37). It was uncommon for Women to read at this time so it made her look like a witch. Then after this Giles goes on to say, “It discomfits me! Last night-mark this-I tired and tired and could not say my prayers. And then she close her book and walks out of the house, and suddenly-mark this-I could pray again!” (38). Giles, however, forgets to mention to Reverend Hale that he has only recently started going to church and that he is not very good at saying prayer; he never mentions that this could have something to do with him not knowing how to say a proper prayer. After Giles wife is taking to prison he does not do very much and just keeps on with his life. For the way he spoke of his wife and simply allowed her to go to jail he is definitely no hero. Later, though, Giles starts to notice that even the slightest offhand remark can result in suspicion of one working with the devil. Giles finally wakes up when Putnam’s daughter accuses George Jacobs of witchery. When this happens then Giles notices a motive and claims that Putnam only wants Jacobs’ land. This is when Giles realizes that he needs to take a stand because if he doesn’t then no one will. Giles then rushes to the court shouting that “Thomas Putnam is only reaching out for land!” (79) Giles claims to have proof and a witness who heard Putnam speak of it. When the court asks him to tell them...
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