In The Crucible, how does fear fail to exterminate truth, relating to when John rips the warrant?

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

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The idea of fear failing to exterminate truth is an interesting element.  On one hand, I read this to mean that fear does not eliminate the pursuit and presence of truth.  The notion of fear failing to exterminate truth is applicable early on in the play as Proctor begins to take a stand in ripping Cheever's warrant.  The fact that Cheever enters the scene, convinced of his authority as an "officer of the court," is not something that immediately causes capitulation in Proctor.  Simply put, Proctor is not intimidated by the presence of the court, something he sees as unholy and wrong as it is representative of Parris.  When he tears the warrant, it is an example of how fear has not exterminated truth.  Unlike his colleagues in Salem, Proctor does not capitulate or acquiesce to the power of the court in fear.  Rather, he repels it and demonstrates resistance, displaying how fear fails to exterminate the truth in the presence of proctor.

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