To use a rhetorical argument, we might begin by suggesting that when one compromises one's values as the solution to an external conflict, this will lead inevitably to an internal conflict. This is the prospect that John Proctor faces in the end - to live without his name and without his integrity or to die with his values intact.
If Proctor had signed the confession and lived, he would have solved his outward problem, but faced an internal one.
Values are our values for a reason - they are time tested belief systems we have found true over the generations, and modeling our lives to follow those systems helps us to avoid heartache and loss, and maintains our ties to the communities we live in. It is in the most difficult times, such as the crisis in The Crucible, that we need value systems the most. They keep us from spiraling into the cycle of fear Miller writes about.
Like many works of literature, and particularly some notable plays, many of the problems and conflicts arise or branch out from one initial, corrupt act and the effects of such impact the lives and circumstances of many other people. In The Crucible, Miller shows through the historical lens of the infamous Salem withcraft trials, that the faculties of reason and actual/factual occurences become corrupt through paranioa and irrational fears. Subsequently, people react to those fears in relation to that particular society's values and attitudes and objectify those fears by pointing fingers at, and blaming others. Miller depicts both the integrity damage that results from adhering to and not adhering to individual core values, and acting upon or not acting upon what know is right and true.
Well, how about a simple start, such as the consequences of not having strong core values or principles. Ben Franklin says, "An empty bag cannot stand upright." Alexander Hamilton wrote, "Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything." In other words, people who have nothing for which to fight (which is different than nothing to lose) rarely have major conflicts. They don't care enough to fight. They aren't invested in anything bigger than themselves.
No strong beliefs, values, or principles--no conflict. People who have something to believe in also have something for which to fight--thus the inevitable conflicts. But if the values are core (central, unmoving, unchanging), those conflicts are easilly dealt with. Dealing with conflicts from a set of principles gives a consistency and believability to the argument.
Hope that helps. Happy writing!
thankyou so much
this really helps alot!