A Belief System - the Crucible

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After reading The Crucible by Arthur Miller, one cannot help but wonder why when given the chance to confess to the accusations and live, did the characters choose to stay firm and die? For people today that question is not easily answered. In the past however, this was not a question at all. The answer was found within the strong religious background that most of the accused were raised on, and the feeling of pride and honor they felt in their hearts. John Proctor exemplifies the importance of a strong name through his actions and choices throughout the play; most significantly the fourth act when he chose death over disgracing his name. Giles Corey's refusal to reveal the name of the informant who accused Putnam of conspiracy also shows the role of justice in these individuals' lives, letting God be the judge of their actions in life and not their peers. Sometimes you have to stand for more. Throughout the play one of the central themes continues to be John Proctor's, Giles Corey's, and Rebecca Nurse's refusal to degrade their souls with lies of confession only to save themselves from the unjust accusations of witchcraft. In this time and era the people living in and around Salem, Massachusetts were from Puritan faith and lived very strict lives. At this point in history there was still no separation between church and state, so the church had a major role in each individual's life. When Reverend Parris came upon the children of Salem dancing and conducting against their religion, they were accused of being in a pact with the devil by many of the town's people in the beginning. Rumors spread, and innocent people were charged of witchcraft. Some of the accused were, in every aspect, a perfect Puritan. Rebecca Nurse was one of these individuals. She was held in high opinion by almost everyone, except for Ann Putnam, who blamed her for the unexplained deaths of her seven children Rebecca had delivered. Ann Putnam claimed that Rebecca sent her "spirit" out on them....
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