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To what extent is it evident that Proctor really does "have his goodness" by the end of...

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rainyafternoon | Student | eNoter

Posted May 8, 2012 at 3:47 AM via web

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To what extent is it evident that Proctor really does "have his goodness" by the end of the play?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 8, 2012 at 9:43 AM (Answer #1)

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I think that there is a clear moment where Proctor does "have his goodness" at the end of the drama.  In my mind, it is to a great extent that Proctor is able to mark this in both manner and characterization.  It becomes evident that Proctor has his goodness in terms of the resoluteness with which he clearly establishes what it is he must do.  Proctor does not show hesitation when he makes his mind that he must stand for something more than the contingent and the temporal.  The notion of "name" becomes a galvanizing force for him and the reclamation of his identity is the first moment where we see him become the transcendent figure that he has shown hints of throughout the drama.  It is to a great extent that Proctor displays this, as he recognizes fully what he must do in the face of challenging circumstances.  He does "have his goodness" at the end of the drama because he is willing to sacrifice his life for it.  At this point, Proctor has shed the attachments of the temporal world and found his cause, his struggle, that transcends everything.  Proctor has come to mean something, to represent something, and it is through this and to this extent that Proctor really does "have his goodness," something that Elizabeth is rightly afraid to take away.

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