The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, is a play modeled after the Red Scare. The Red Scare was a period when fear of communism grew to hysteria, and it reflected the topic of The Crucible. In this play, a wave of fear spreads throughout Salem ad accusations of witchcraft begin to rise. A character, John Proctor, displays great pride throughout the play but also demonstrates change because he was at first doubtful, but later comes to realize its severity. John Proctor’s combination of these traits influences the outcome of the play and causes his own demise. Although Proctor does not show arrogance, he strongly defends his pride and dignity in the play, which triggers a chain of events leading to his demise. An example of his pride is evident during a conversation between him and his wife. After his wife inquires why he was alone with Abigail in a room, Proctor is enraged and retorts, “I’ll not have your suspicion anymore.” Preceding this conversation, Proctor had committed adultery, which now weighs on his conscience. Because he feels his pride is threatened when Elizabeth questions him, Proctor is quick to defend himself, showing how he values his dignity and sense of honor. It is the same pride that causes his downfall because he did not admit to his mistakes and instead tried to hide them from society. Without such fear, Proctor would have been more freely able to approach the court and tell that the witchcraft is fraud without worrying about whether Abigail would reveal his past adultery. Thus, he would have prevented the progression of severity of the witchcraft his Salem. Another instance when Proctor displays his pride somewhat irrationally is when he is in court. Proctor refuses to give his deposition and exclaims, “say what you will, but [do not take] my name….” Even though Proctor is faced with the possibility of death, he refuses to give his name because he fears the people of the town will look down upon him with disgrace. John Proctor’s pride...
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