The Crucible is full of sacrifice. Some sacrifice themselves, some sacrifice their neighbors, and others sacrifice their principles. One of the most insidious aspects of the witch-trials is that they make sacrifice of some kind necessary: anyone who is called upon to make a false confession or die cannot avoid sacrificing something, whether it is life or truth.
John Proctor declares in act 4 that he is no saint and will have his life even if it means making a false confession. Yet when he is asked to implicate Rebecca Nurse, Mary Easty, and Martha Corey, he is prepared to sacrifice his own life rather than theirs. Deputy-Governor Danforth, in sharp contrast, is always blustering about his integrity and honesty yet is perfectly prepared to sacrifice justice to expediency. In act 4 he decides to execute seven people merely because "reprieve or pardon must cast doubt upon the guilt of them that died till now."
The Reverend Hale is a contrast to Danforth in that he is willing to sacrifice his...
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