Compare Elizabeth Proctor and Mary Warren in The Crucible. What value systems does each represent? 

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

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I think that both characters feature some divergent value systems when it comes to how society views them.  Elizabeth seems to place less of a primacy on the thought of other people.  Her primary concern throughout the play is the state of her marriage with John.  She is more driven with this reality more than anything else.  She is concerned about what is happening in Salem, but is more preoccupied with John's sense of responsibility as a husband and how he carries himself in their marriage.  Mary is one that needs the affirmation of the group.  From the earliest moments in Act I, when she suggests that full disclosure will only result in a small punishment and then going silent when reprimanded by Abigail to the trial where she is unable to stand against the girls, Mary places a high level of primacy on how other see her and her sense of belonging.  In Act II, Mary likes serving on the jury in Salem and sitting in judgment of others because it is a form of power, the same root element that is taken away from her in Act III when she is targeted and isolated by Abigail and the other girls in court.  Mary Warren's value system places a great deal of emphasis on how she is seen by others and the role of public acceptance represents more importance with her than it does with Elizabeth Proctor, whose primary concern is more about John's "goodness."

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