Why is John Proctor unwilling to sign the confession? What is the significance of his "name"?

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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John Proctor refuses to sign a confession that he served the devil by practicing witchcraft because it is a lie. He has lost everything--his home, his family, his community--but he refusesd to give up his good name. When confronted about having committed adultery, he admits it, even though he is confessing to having sinned. He does so because he knows that he has done wrong and must suffer the consequences. But when he is asked to sign the false confession just to end the trials and punishments, he will not do it. He does not want his sons to grow up with a father who is labeled a liar or who chose the easy way out when so many of his friends and neighbors have been killed. Having an honorable name means more to him than living under a lie. When he says that he is "not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang," he means it. He would rather die with them than live knowing that they died for nothing.

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