Reputation In The Crucible

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Upholding Reputations: “How May I Live Without My Name?” (Miller 133) Imagine living in a society where if a lie was not told, then one was sentenced to death. Furthermore, envision one’s life being in the hands of a deceitful group of girls. In another situation, imagine seeing a classmate fall victim to a mystery illness. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and Katherine Howe’s Conversion, both literary texts involve communities stressing the importance of conforming to their ideas of a perfect reputation. However, these reputations formed are not true reflections of the internal struggles that the protagonists face. In these works, protagonist’s John Proctor and Colleen Rowley appear to be the epitome of the perfect Christian and the…show more content…
In Proctor’s situation, the young group of teenage girls possess the power of accusing him to a crime for which the repercussion is the death penalty. Since the judge and prosecutors of Salem believe that God is speaking through the girls, the only way to relieve himself of the death sentence is to falsely confess to witchcraft. Feeling completely helpless, Proctor begins to confess but then realizes that by not confessing to the crime, he can maintain his integrity and uphold his reputation for future generations. In a similar manner, Colleen tries to be in control by forming a reputation that provides as a safe haven for her. However, when the conversion disorder strikes, even Clara Rutherford, who upholds the perfect reputation, falls victim to the disorder. Furthermore, false accusations are coming from internal and external factors, such as within the school and from public exposure. Colleen’s teacher announces to Colleen that the girls are not actually inflicted, but then the media claims that the disorder is resulting from several environmental issues. Likewise, many students are inclined to falsely accuse themselves of having the disorder in order to not attend school or in order to receive media attention. Colleen notices her helplessness in that she cannot further alleviate the situation or prevent herself from receiving the disorder. In both works, these accusations dramatize the situation and contribute to the rising turmoil. Colleen and Proctor ultimately have no control in their situations, and both characters are influenced to behave in different
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