Reputation in The Crucible
The play The Crucible by Arthur Miller uncovers the value of reputation to each character as accusations of witchcraft arise in the small town of Salem. The play shows characters going to lengths to preserve their good reputation, no matter the consequences. This theme of reputation is shown in the play through the characters of Reverend Parris, John Proctor, and even the court.
Reverend Parris is exceedingly selfish and is shown to value his reputation above all several times by Miller in the play. Arthur Miller introduces Pariss standing over his unconscious daughter. One might feel sorry for him but that diminishes soon after when it is revealed that he only cares about his reputation. His position as Minister of Salem is in jeopardy if people think that his daughter was practicing witchcraft. This can be shown when he says to Abigail, “Now look you, child-if you trafficked with spirits in the forest, I must know it, for surely my enemies will, and they’ll ruin me with it…” Here Parris clearly wants to know if the girls were practicing witchcraft or not so he can protect his own reputation. His “enemies” are told to be people who have “sworn to drive him from his pulpit”. His reputation comes before even his daughters’ health and safety. His value of reputation comes into effect again when he lies to the court. He tells them that he didn’t see anyone in the woods when it is in fact made clear that he did when he says so to Abigail. He thinks that if he admits to them being in the forest and dancing naked it will somehow lead the court to determine that they were practicing witchcraft. And since Betty, his daughter was a part of it; it would sabotage his job and reputation.
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