Truth and Honesty Essay

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Honesty and integrity are remarkable virtues that allow humans to put the truth and what’s morally right before anything else despite outside pressure, sometimes including one’s self-interest. People who can manage to place moral values first, face obscure situations with dignity. Demonstrating honesty is often difficult. History has shown that telling the truth can be painful and it may bring many problems, especially when other people don’t want to accept it or when they don’t share the ideal of integrity, which so happens to be the case in The Crucible. And while telling the truth can be very challenging, ultimately revealing the truth sets people free. The characters of John Proctor and Elizabeth Proctor share the essential belief that protecting the truth is a necessary component to maintain a high level of self-integrity and to bring peace of mind. John Proctor is a melancholic man who views himself as a sinner because of his secret affair with Abigail. He believes that his mistake has caused unfixable damage to his marriage with Elizabeth. In the eyes of Salem however, John Proctor is an honest, respectable, and straightforward man. Even though at the beginning of the play he is concerned about his reputation, as the play progresses Proctor becomes more concerned with his personal integrity and self-preservation rather than his public reputation. He is a voice of reason in this play as he never hops on the trend of witchcraft hysteria and thinks of the trials as an absurdity. When Elizabeth is arrested, John has a hard decision to make. He has to choose between revealing his affair with Abigail and destroying his public reputation but potentially saving his wife; or not telling the truth, saving his reputation but losing his wife. Proctor decides to tell the truth by telling Elizabeth that he “will fall like an ocean on the court, Fear nothing Elizabeth.” (73) John comes to realize that what he must do to live in peace with himself is protecting the truth, even at the cost of his reputation. John Proctor’s best possession is his powerful sense of integrity. His decision to confess adultery demonstrates he is good-hearted, as he sacrifices himself to protect his wife,

Elizabeth Proctor is a good woman known in Salem for never telling a lie. She is well respected in the community and she is known as a morally upright woman. Like Rebecca Nurse, there is a moral superiority to her compared to the rest of Salem. Elizabeth is very sensitive and she is trying to forgive John for his sin because she cares a lot about him. Even though she loves him, she is cold to John because it’s hard for her to forget what happened and move on. Elizabeth is a wise character who like her husband doesn’t believe in witchcraft and she tells John he must go to Salem to “tell them[the court] it is a fraud” (50) However, Elizabeth falls victim to the hysteria and is accused of witchcraft by Abigail who describes Elizabeth as a “bitter woman, a lying, cold, sniveling woman.” (11) Elizabeth is not a liar but a virtuous woman who will hang on to the truth and not confess of being a witch. Like John, she values self-integrity before all things. Both characters choose to protect the truth despite the pains and consequences they will have to face.

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