I'm sure most people would say it's okay to lie to save one's own life. Looking back at times in history when people had to lie to save their lives (i.e., Jews who denied their Jewishness to avoid the Holocaust), I understand that choice. It seems to me, though, that just as there are consequences if the lie is not told, there are also consequences for telling such a lie. In the end, it's a choice and one will be answerable for whichever choice is made.
This question is really asking for your own opinion, so, in considering all of the above posts' input, let me pose the question a new way: How do you feel about it now that you have received input from a variety of voices? Is it ever okay to lie? Is it okay to lie if it will save your life or the life of another? Such a scenario demands an ethical answer rather than an academic one, so you may best be served in deciding how you personally feel about this issue, and then proceed from there.
Can all of you please help me answer this question in two pages: Does confessing to a crime you didn't commit in order to avoid punishment wise?
Lying comes in many forms, but it all boils down to this--it is not the truth! Whether it's an all-out verbal denial of something you did or a little white lie, it's still a lie! And to confess to doing a crime you didn't do to protect someone else or to avoid punishment is LYING!
A famous philosopher once said: "Truth stands on two legs, a lie on one." Basically speaking, it means that truth will stand the test of time and will not fall, but lies will crumple and fall eventually. Often, in the case of lying, you have to tell another lie to cover up the first lie, then another and another until they stack up so deep you'll never get out from under it! Eventually, your lies will trip you up because you won't be able to remember what you said.
If you didn't commit a crime but say you did, then you have to fabricate something to implicate yourself. Sooner or later a sharp prosecutor or defense attorney will find discrepancies in your story that prove you weren't telling the truth. So, by trying to protect the guilty person from punishment, your confession just make things worse for both of you in the long run! It's not smart or wise!
I think the person who is guilty of a crime needs to own up to what they've done and take whatever punishment they have coming! They need to have a sense of responsibility for their own actions! People who do that show maturity and others end up respecting them more for their confession. It doesn't mean they won't get punished, but maybe their punishment won't be as severe because they admitted to doing it.
In the case of The Crucible, I would say absolutely yes. I understand why Proctor doesn't (because he values the feeling that he is finally virtuous), but it seems pretty silly to me. If given the choice between saying I did something (especially if it's not too terrible) and dying, I'd choose to lie about what I did.
So I think you need to discuss what reasons someone might have for choosing to tell the truth and die. Then you can talk about whether you think that choice makes sense.
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I am not sure that confessing to a crime relieves you of any punishment that comes with a person who others feel is responsible. I think that is one of the fastest ways to get punished; simply by confessing to a crime would enable you to be punished. I don't see how saying "I did it" absolves you of anything.