How can the idea of characters sacrificing principles for relationships be evident in The Crucible?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that this idea of sacrificing principles for relationships can be seen in a couple of ways in Miller's work.  Elizabeth is the first one who jumps to mind.  Faced with the awful task of testifying against her husband, she sacrifices her principle of telling the truth for her husband.  She lies for John, believing that it will help him.  The principle of truth and the need to always tell it is sacrificed for his betterment.  It becomes loaded with irony in that she was telling John that he has an obligation to tell the truth about Abigail and she has to sacrifice her own notion of telling the truth in the vain hopes of saving him.  Giles Corey is another example of sacrificing principles for relationships in the same manner.  When he comes forth with his claim against Putnam, Danforth wants Corey to name the name of his informant.  He refuses to do so knowing that doing so will "bring harm to another."  In this, Corey sacrifices the principle of full disclosure to the court for the relationship he holds to another human being. It is another instant of a person standing up for another at the cost of a supposedly ethical maxim.

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