In The Crucible, what is an example of reputation?

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The most important example in the play comes in the shape of John Proctor. His concern with his reputation—the good name of his family—is behind his refusal to sign a confession implicating him in witchcraft. At this late stage in the play, John's lost just about everything. But the one...

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The most important example in the play comes in the shape of John Proctor. His concern with his reputation—the good name of his family—is behind his refusal to sign a confession implicating him in witchcraft. At this late stage in the play, John's lost just about everything. But the one thing he has left is his good name, his reputation. John knows that he's doomed, but he wants to make sure that his children and his children's children are protected from the shame and stigma that would've attached to the Proctor name had he signed the confession.

Salem is a very small town where one's good name is everything. The whole witch-craze started chiefly because Reverend Parris wanted to protect his reputation as a devout, respectable clergyman from the consequences of his niece's weird midnight cavortings in the forest. By the same token, John Proctor wants to protect his reputation from Parris and the other witch-hunters.

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Reverend Parris might be an example of reputation.  He seems so worried about how people will perceive him and his status that he fails to account for some basic realities that impact everyone in Salem.  His niece is essentially out of control and his lack of emotional affect towards her because of his precious reputation precludes her from being stemmed in her accusations that drive the town to a naturally destructive end.  At the same time, the overriding fear of the besmirched reputation of the townspeople causes them to sever bonds with one another.  When someone is accused of being a witch, we don't see anyone assisting in their defense or offering to assist because the same accusation can be leveled against them.  This lack of solidarity is because everyone is concerned about their reputation before anything else.  In the end, the overriding desire to protect a social reputation might have had a detrimental impact on the social order in general.

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