The Theme of Pride in the Play
Pride can be defined positively and negatively, it can mean a sense of one's own proper dignity or value or self-respect, or an excessively high opinion of oneself or conceit, respectively. In the play which portrays both sides of pride we are transported to the late sixteen hundreds and introduced to the town of Salem in the province of Massachusetts Bay during the time of witch trials, and it’s excessively superstitious habitants. Some of the fictitious but notable habitants of the town are John Proctor, his wife Elizabeth Proctor and Reverend Hale, all of whom show various facets of pride, its benefits and its consequences. Initially in the play pride is portrayed by Reverend Hale, who fervently believed in witches and other demonic arts and that their extinction in the name of god was necessary. He was also the minister in charge of finding the marks of the devil for the witch trials because he had previously “found” a witch in his hometown. An example of the pride he held on his gift of recognizing the devils mark is when he said “Man, remember, until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in Heaven.”(Act 2, Page 59) The result from his pride in what he believed in led him to be the force behind the witch trials and he later regretted it when he realized how morally incorrect they were, a quote that shows his lament for participating in such trials is when he quits them and says “I denounce these proceedings. I quit this court!” (Act 3, Page 96) This proves that his pride was unjustified to an extent because his belief in witches did not have substantial proof and many suffered because of his mistake. On the other hand we have Elizabeth Proctor, a person just as religious as Hale but less devoted. She also portrays the good and bad side of pride and this is not completely her fault because the pride she initially showed was that of a scorned woman who had just suffered a kind of infidelity...
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