By the time that John Proctor is facing the hangman's noose, he has recovered his integrity and feels that he has cleansed his soul, in addition to protecting himself from being tempted to engage in an even more evil act than his adultery. Proctor decides that the court, the judges, are trying to force him to surrender his name so that it can be used to justify their actions.
Their actions included the execution of innocent people, at least 12 by the time Proctor is set to be hung. The court pleads with Proctor to sign a written confession that Reverend Parris intends on posting on the church door. This document, singed by John Proctor, who is a respected member of the community, will carry a great weight in convincing the people of Salem that a witchcraft epidemic really did exist and that the court, the judges, the legal authorities, actually got rid of it.
The court officials are afraid that there is going to be a revolt in the town because it has happened in another town.
"During a similar situation in Andover, the town banded together and threw out the court, saying they wanted no part of witchcraft. While the hangings in Salem have gone smoothly so far, Parris fears that the hanging of Rebecca Nurse and John Proctor the next morning will change public sentiment. Unlike the others who have hung, these two are good people who hold great weight in Salem."
Proctor decides that he is better off dying than participating in the phony sham of helping to justify the Salem witch trials, he holds onto his dignity, his name and goes to his death feeling like a faithful Christian.