Given Proctor's speech in Act IV below, examine interesting points within it. "I'd have you see some honesty in it. Let them that never lied die now to keep their souls. It is pretense for me, a...

Given Proctor's speech in Act IV below, examine interesting points within it. 

"I'd have you see some honesty in it. Let them that never lied die now to keep their souls. It is pretense for me, a vanity that will not blind God nor keep my children out of the wind. Pause. What say you?"

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

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Proctor's speech features some interesting elements within it.  The first is that Proctor is slowly emerging to a new point in his own conception of self.  Proctor is still defining action in relative terms, such as honesty.  He believes that he is still not showing the level of honesty that he feels is representative of someone like Rebecca Nurse.  Proctor is still driven by the idea of "pretense," people acting one way and carrying on in another way.  This represented the bane of his dislike towards Abigail and Parris.  Even after the end of the trials, Proctor is still showing himself to be motivated by the avoidance of pretense.  Interestingly enough, the end of the speech shows how Proctor is moving towards a point where he is able to embrace a transcendent notion of the good, away from temporality and contingency.  The fact that Proctor is ending this speech by speaking towards the name of his children and how he is sees them as the representative of the future is something that will begin the process of Proctor's pivot towards the stance he takes at the end.  The most interesting element of this speech is that it precedes his decision to confess.  Yet, it actually foreshadows the position that he will take at the end of the drama and for what he will be most remembered in his characterization.  Proctor's speech in the earlier part of the final act represents this transformation, an evolution towards the ending point.

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