Analyze a characater's desire to maintain their reputation in Act III.  

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The most obvious example of someone trying to maintain his reputation in Act III of The Crucible is John Proctor. He tries to keep his name as untarnished as possible, given the fact that he understands he's a sinner.  His motivation is clear.  If I were writing this essay, however, I'd choose Judge Danforth.  By the end of the play, it's become increasingly clear that these trials are not necessarily just.  Rev. Hale sees it, Rev. Parris sees it, and even Danforth sees it--specifically when he is the recipient of a veiled threat by Abigail.  He sees it, yet he has no intention of righting the wrong--and he's really the only one with the power to do so.  More power, in this case, is simply more reason to protect his reputation.

In Act III, he is trying to protect his own reputation.  The sensible Rev. Hale is trying to convince him to stay the coming executions, at the very least.  Danforth answers:

Postponement now speaks a floundering on my part; reprieve or pardon must cast doubt upon the guilt of them that died till now.  While I speak God's law, I will not crack its voice with whimpering.

This is nothing short of pride and arrogance--and a fear of looking foolish or wrong for the previous judgments he's made.  It's sheer stubbornness which he is displaying in this act in his blatant attempt to salvage or maintain his own reputation. 

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The Crucible

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