The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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What is author's message concerning individual conscience in an atmosphere of fear and mass hysteria in The Crucible?

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In The Crucible, John Proctor initially struggles with the decision to expose the corrupt court by admitting that Abigail Williams is a fraud. The Salem community has become overwhelmed by witchcraft hysteria, and nobody is willing to speak out against the court.

Elizabeth encourages her husband to expose the truth and feels that he is obligated to intervene. However, Proctor is reluctant to act and does not want to ruin his reputation. Similarly, Mary Warren does not speak out against the trials because she fears Abigail and realizes that she will be severely punished for lying in court.

Tragically, John Proctor's hesitation leads to numerous citizens being arrested and accused of witchcraft as hysteria consumes the community. Eventually, Elizabeth is arrested, and John makes the valiant decision to challenge and expose the corrupt court. He is also forced to ruin his reputation and sacrifice his life to put an end to the trials.

John Proctor's conscience and morals motivate him to tear his confession and die a martyr. Rather than conform to society and participate in the mass hysteria, he courageously follows his conscience and speaks out against the proceedings. Through John Proctor's character, Miller emphasizes the importance of valiantly following one's conscience and not subscribing to mass hysteria.

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