The Crucible Abigail's Reputation

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What is the importance of a person's name and reputation? When is the reputation of a person more important than their actions? What's in a name? A great deal according to the characters in The Crucible. The characters are quite concerned with the perception of their name and reputation. Parris talks about Abigail's dancing and Betty's sudden sickness as compromising his character. He also proclaims that Proctor has been 'blackening his name.' Hale is impressed with Rebecca, her reputation has reached his own village. Giles regularly sues his neighbours for defamation. Danforth will not pardon any of the accused because it will reflect badly on his judgement. Though it wouldn't seem so in comparing their personalities, John and Abigail…show more content…
When Parris questions Abigail about her reputation and whether or not her name is 'white,' Abigail is adamant: 'There be no blush about my name.' (Act One) And when pressed further, Abigail flies into a temper: 'My name is good in the village! I will not have it said my name is soiled!" (Act One) When she becomes a conduit for naming witches, Abigail's name is taken to an exalted level. In Act Two, Elizabeth describes how Mary Warren talks of Abigail: 'She speak of Abagail and I thought she were a saint, to hear her. Abagail brings the other girls to court, and where she walks the crowd will part like the sea for Israel.' (Act Two) This is exactly what Abagail has always wanted. A good name beyond reproach. A trusted name. A name with power. Abigail's name has so much power she is able to accuse anyone of being a witch. Her powerful reputation trumps those with seemingly spotless reputations: Abigail has the power to accuse and condemn Elizabeth. John too is consumed with preserving his good name. In Act Two, when the accusations of witch begin to escalate, Elizabeth pushes John to reveal Abigail as a fraud. He's…show more content…
When John reveals the affair, Elizabeth is brought into the courtroom to corroborate. Because John has been so strongly attached to his reputation, Elizabeth (a woman known for telling the truth) thinks lying about the affair will save him. She denies the affair ever took place and John is arrested as a witch. Further, John's obsession is what takes his life. In Act Four John is a broken man. He has been jailed and tortured. On the day of his execution he is given a chance to confess, mostly because of his good name. There is a growing unrest and resentment against the witch trials and fear of what may happen if a 'good' man such as John is hanged: '....John Proctor is not Isaac Ward that drank his family to ruin. I would to God it were not so, Excellency, but these people have great weight in the town.......unconfessed and claiming innocence, doubts are multiplied, many honest people will weep...' (Parris, Act Four) When John learns that he will have to sign his name to the confession, which is a lie, he refuses. Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life!....I have given you my soul; leave me my name! (Act Four) In the end, he would rather die than have his name brought into
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