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Do you think John Proctor made the right decision? Why or why not?It would be great to...

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questionsss | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 6, 2009 at 5:37 PM via web

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Do you think John Proctor made the right decision? Why or why not?

It would be great to see some others' opinions so that I can better understand "The Crucible." Thank you.

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questionsss | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 7, 2009 at 9:18 AM (Answer #2)

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-------other opinions*

 Sorry for the mistake.

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 7, 2009 at 9:18 AM (Answer #3)

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I think for purposes of the play, Proctor made the right decision. He was concerned for about the consequences of having his "confession" made public. He was especially afraid that his sons would never respect him and think him a coward for caving into the court. Thus, he died a martyr in order to uphold his own good name---not for himself, but for his family. This kind of ending makes quite a dramatic statement in the play. However, people of Salem were questioning the validity of the entire court. I think most people would have understood his "confession" as a way to be able to support his family and see his sons grow to adulthood. Over the years, people would have forgotten the "confession" and seen the horrible result of their own actions, or non-actions. After all, how many people do we remember who actually "confessed" to being witches

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enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted January 7, 2009 at 9:18 AM (Answer #4)

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No character in a play (or person in real life, for that matter) ever consciously makes decisions that they think are wrong.  Clearly, by acting the way he did, John Proctor effects some redemption for himself and refuses to continue to compound the disastrous errors that have occurred; he therefore acts heroically, but is this the right thing to have done, despite having to die for it?  Yes. See more at the link (seond response, "He hath his goodness now"):

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morrol | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted January 7, 2009 at 11:26 AM (Answer #5)

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I think that Proctor's decision, which mimics the decision made by Arthur Miller himself, is honorable and brave. What is more impressive is that this was an example where life imitated art beautifully. Miller retained his dignity by not naming his friends as communists, putting himself in danger. His example makes him a great role model, and one of my literary heroes. Anyone can write a play about dignity. Arthur Miller lived his art.

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 18, 2009 at 11:58 PM (Answer #6)

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Do you think John Proctor made the right decision? Why or why not?

It would be great to see some others' opinions so that I can better understand "The Crucible." Thank you.

Sadly, no matter which decision John made, his life was over. He could choose to die with honor or live with shame. If he had chosen to lie in order to live, he really would not have gotten his life back. He surely would have lived every day hating himself for what he had done. He would have suffered; he would have felt no joy in life. His great unhappiness surely would have made life difficult for Elizabeth and the children. Also, since John would have lost his self-respect, he would not have felt himself capable of being a fit parent. He would have felt that he was not able to set a moral example for his sons. He alluded to this just before his death.

All things considered, John made the right decision. It was the only decision he could make to bring something good and decent out of the horror of the witch trials.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 6, 2010 at 3:51 PM (Answer #9)

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Sure he made the right decision.  The beautiful thing about having a conscience and a soul and a relationship with God is that He is the only one you have to answer to for your choices, ultimately.  There may be some consequences here on earth, but anything that matters is eternal and personal.  He died in peace rather than lived in torment.  That makes his choice the better one, it seems to me.

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