The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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At the end of the The Crucible, John proctor tears up the confession that would have saved his life. Do you find this act believeable?

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Absolutely, I do.  We see John's ambivalence about lying to save his life in his conversation with Elizabeth.  He says, "I have been thinking I would confess to them, Elizabeth [...].  What say you?  If I give them that?"  However, he cannot look at her when he asks it, and when people cannot make eye contact, it often signals that person's shame.  Further, he asks her opinion because he respects her as a good, honest woman.  If she can say that she would give a lie to save her life, it would make John feel less guilty about doing so himself.  He explains further,

I cannot mount the gibbet like a saint.  It is a fraud.  I am not that man [....].  My honesty is broke, Elizabeth; I am no good man.  Nothing's spoiled by giving them this lie that were not rotten long before.

Ever since he committed adultery, John has felt like a corrupted person,...

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