1 Answer | Add Yours
Proctor's death is attributable ultimately to him. He had the chance to sign the petition that admitting he was a witch. He chose not to because he knew that his name carried weight in Salem; if others saw that he had confessed, they would have an easier time believing others like Rebecca Nurse and Martha Corey were also witches who just wouldn't admit to it. He also wanted to protect his name, saying it is the only one he will ever have. He doesn't want it to be tarnished for his children, for the town, or for history. So, in the play's climax, he tears the paper with the confession and joins his friends at the gallows. Some argue that Elizabeth is complicit in his death because she did not do more to talk him out of it. She told him that she would rather he lived, but she would not press him on the issue. Some critics see her words as cold and unfeeling. But taken with Proctor's own wish to have his name, she was really just following his lead. It could also be argued that she had a hand in his execution because she did not earlier tell the truth to Danforth when asked about Abigail and John's affair. But, as Hale pleads with Danforth, "this is a natural lie to tell." She cannot be blamed for telling a simple lie that she thought would result in her husband's public shaming and jail sentence. The reasons for Abigail's guilt should be obvious, as she is the one who led the girls to manipulate the justice system for their own selfish reasons. If not for Abigail's false accusations, no one in the town would have hung. Even though her attempts were originally to eliminate Elizabeth and rekindle her flame with John, the whole affair tumbled downhill, and even Abby was unable to stop it. Mary Warren, fearing for her own life, changes her story and indicts John on the charges of witch craft. Much like Elizabeth's lie, though, she was trying to save her own life. So while she lied and it was selfish, the maliciousness of Abby's lies build a much stronger case.
We’ve answered 317,595 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question