In The Crucible, describe Giles Corey's attitude and character and why that may make him a good man and an idiot at times. sometimes giles could be described as brave other times he was like an...

In The Crucible, describe Giles Corey's attitude and character and why that may make him a good man and an idiot at times. 

sometimes giles could be described as brave

other times he was like an idiot-telling (someone i cant remember) that his wife was reading a strange book

Expert Answers
lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Crucible, Giles Corey is a strange man. Miller describes him as follows:

"knotted with muscle, canny, inquisitive, and still powerful. . . . He didn' t give a hoot for public opinion, and only in his last years did he bother much with the church. He was a crank and a nuisance, but withal a deeply innocent and brave man."

No doubt, Giles is a brave man. He would rather die than confess to being involved in witchcraft. Giles neither confesses to witchcraft charges nor does he deny them. He refuses to stand trial, so he is killed by the heavy weight of stones that press him to death.
He dies bearing the weight of heavy stones. As he is dying, his last words are "more weight."  

While Giles is brave, he is not too bright. Before his death, he confesses that his wife reads strange books. This puts her under condemnation of being involved in witchcraft. After he brings up the fact that his wife has been reading strange books, his wife is accused of witchcraft. Giles realizes his blunder and regrets having brought up the fact that his wife reads strange books. He realizes his wife is innocent and recognizes that his own actions have condemned her. He deeply regrets opening his mouth against his wife. 

Although Giles is seen as a comical figure in The Crucible, he dies a serious death. Giles Corey dies as a brave man who tried to get the court to see how ridiculous their accusations were about the people of Salem being guilty of witchcraft involvement:

He turned from a comical hero into a true and honorable one, a man who stood up against hysteria of the infamous Salem Witch Trials. 

favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Giles seems somewhat idiotic in Act Three when he comes to the court to help save his wife, Martha. When Judge Hathorne asks him what lawyer helped him with his deposition, Giles is only too proud to tell him that he worked on it himself. He says, "I am thirty-three times in court in my life. And always a plaintiff, too." He absolutely brags about his "legal training"—essentially, his incredible litigiousness—without realizing that this makes him look simply cantankerous and finicky rather than anything positive.  

However, Giles also seems quite brave when he refuses to give the name of the man who overheard Mr. Putnam claim his daughter had "given him a fair gift of land." He knows, having watched the same thing happen to Mr. Nurse's friends (who signed a document testifying to the good character of his wife and others), that if he gives this man's name to the court, the man—who was only trying to help him—will be arrested and questioned. Giles says, "I will not give you no name. I mentioned my wife's name once and I'll burn in hell long enough for that. I stand mute." As a result, Danforth arrests Giles for contempt of court, and, still, Giles will not sacrifice his informant to save himself, which is quite brave.

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The Crucible

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