"It is better to die for what you believe in rather than lie to save your life".Write a persuasive response for or against or a personal reflective piece or an expository piece on the above topic....

"It is better to die for what you believe in rather than lie to save your life".

Write a persuasive response for or against or a personal reflective piece or an expository piece on the above topic. I'm not sure how to start off my essay so can i please have some ideas on what i can include in my essay from "The Crucible"? Use evidence & quotes to support your point.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that you have to make a conscious choice before starting this essay.  The primary distinction that you have to make is between whether you are going to pursue this as a personal reflective piece or as an expository piece driven by the play.  This seems to me to be the critical decision that you have to make.   There can be many examples on the personal level that can be used.  The force of this has to come from your own beliefs, though.  Few can do this part but you.  Certainly, you can point to examples in history of individuals who have given their lives for their beliefs.  I would also temper the zeal here by suggesting that, given the quote, a suicide bomber or terrorist would also believe in such words.  I also would have to say that in a personal piece, you would have to strongly debate the words and ideas being asserted.  There is little equivocation here.  Is it better to give your live for your beliefs?  I like being able to apply this in historical conditions, simply because I feel uncomfortable writing about hypothetical situations.  For me, I think this is a difficult position to argue effectively in a personal realm, but if this is where you think your strength lies, then you need to run with this.

I won't lie when I say that I prefer the expository bound idea that is presented in the play.  Certainly, I would point to Proctor as an example of someone who believes in the words.  I would utilize some of the lines he says while in captivity such as "My life as my own," those lines would work well.  I would also use the lines such as, "It's my name.. I cannot have another" and his discussions with Elizabeth as examples of how Proctor is committed to the notion of truth after seeing it perverted in his own experience and in the town with Abigail's accusations.  I think I would also cite how Proctor begins the play struggling with his own sense of self for his shame of his affair with Abigail.  He feels genuinely remorseful for this and for the act of deception.  It causes him pain and for him to see this same theme play out in the village with the town believing the words of "whores" over "good women," it chastens him to believe once and for all that truth has to win out somewhere, somehow, and in some way.  Additionally, I would probably point out to the character of Giles Corey who never repents and demands for "more weight."  These might be instances of individuals who believe in the quotation and can serve as sources for your reference points.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with akannan, and I think the choice has been made for you by the prompt (which is a good thing, since few of us in America, at any age, have been faced with anything as dramatic as dying for something we believe).  The prompt says to cite specific evidence and quotes from the play, and Act 3 is the place to look for them.

Here, there are 4 characters who die for their beliefs:  Martha Corey, Rebecca Nurse, Giles Corey, and John Proctor.  Proctor is obviously the most dramatic and fleshed-out of the four, and you've already gotten some good ideas for that.  Consider the two ladies, who are appalled and dismayed that John--who they obviously consider to be one of the righteous, despite his glaring sin of adultery--may sign his name to a lie.  They understand as as he does that this would be an eternal condemning of his soul according to their fath, as well as a reason for the trials to continue.  They neither scold nor rebuke him harshly; they're simply saddened that he has caved.  They, meanwhile, continue to stand firm.

Giles Corey is unique in that we hear about his death second-hand--though that doesn't make his death any less dramatic.  In fact, it's one of the finer moments of the play when we realize he was able to look his accusers in the face and clearly refuse to confess.  His "More weight" is a hugely impactful line and clearly an actual decision to die for a cause (and to save his childrens' inheritance, of course).

This should be fun to write.  Good luck!

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The Crucible

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