19Jan 2022 by
Reread Act 4, Part 6, of The Crucible by Arthur Miller.
DANFORTH (considers; then with dissatisfaction): Come, then, sign your testimony. (to Cheever) Give it to him. (Cheever goes to Proctor, the confession and a pen in hand. Proctor does not look at it.) Come, man, sign it.
PROCTOR (after glancing at the confession): You have all witnessed it—it is enough.
DANFORTH: You will not sign it?
PROCTOR: You have all witnessed it; what more is needed?
DANFORTH: Do you sport with me? You will sign your name or it is no confession, Mister! (His breast heaving with agonized breathing, Proctor now lays the paper down and signs his name.)
PARRIS: Praise be to the Lord!
(Proctor has just finished signing when Danforth reaches for the paper. But Proctor snatches it up, and now a wild terror is rising in him, and a boundless anger.)
DANFORTH (perplexed, but politely extending his hand): If you please, sir.
DANFORTH (as though Proctor did not understand): Mr. Proctor, I must have—
PROCTOR: No, no. I have signed it. You have seen me. It is done! You have no need for this.
PARRIS: Proctor, the village must have proof that—
PROCTOR: Damn the village! I confess to God, and God has seen my name on this! It is enough!
DANFORTH: No, sir, it is—
PROCTOR: You came to save my soul, did you not? Here! I have confessed myself; it is enough!
DANFORTH: You have not con—
PROCTOR: I have confessed myself! Is there no good penitence but it be public? God does not need my name nailed upon the church! God sees my name; God knows how black my sins are! It is enough!
DANFORTH: Mr. Proctor—
PROCTOR: You will not use me! I am no Sarah Good or Tituba, I am John Proctor! You will not use me! It is no part of salvation that you should use me!
DANFORTH: I do not wish to—
PROCTOR: I have three children—how may I teach them to walk like men in the world, and I sold my friends?
DANFORTH: You have not sold your friends—
PROCTOR: Beguile me not! I blacken all of them when this is nailed to the church the very day they hang for silence!
DANFORTH: Mr. Proctor, I must have good and legal proof that you—
PROCTOR: You are the high court, your word is good enough! Tell them I confessed myself; say Proctor broke his knees and wept like a woman; say what you will, but my name cannot—
DANFORTH (with suspicion): It is the same, is it not? If I report it or you sign to it?
PROCTOR (He knows it is insane): No, it is not the same! What others say and what I sign to is not the same!
DANFORTH: Why? Do you mean to deny this confession when you are free?
PROCTOR: I mean to deny nothing!
DANFORTH: Then explain to me, Mr. Proctor, why you will not let—
PROCTOR (with a cry of his whole soul): Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!
DANFORTH (pointing at the confession in Proctor’s hand): Is that document a lie? If it is a lie I will not accept it! What say you? I will not deal in lies, Mister! (Proctor is motionless.) You will give me your honest confession in my hand, or I cannot keep you from the rope. (Proctor does not reply.) Which way do you go, Mister?
(His breast heaving, his eyes staring, Proctor tears the paper and crumples it, and he is weeping in fury, but erect.)
PARRIS (hysterically, as though the tearing paper were his life): Proctor, Proctor!
HALE: Man, you will hang! You cannot!
PROCTOR (his eyes full of tears): I can. And there’s your first marvel, that I can. You have made your magic now, for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs. (Elizabeth, in a burst of terror, rushes to him and weeps against his hand.) Give them no tear! Tears pleasure them! Show honor now, show a stony heart and sink them with it! (He has lifted her, and kisses her now with great passion.)
REBECCA: Let you fear nothing! Another judgment waits us all!
DANFORTH: Hang them high over the town! Who weeps for these, weeps for corruption! (He sweeps out past them. Herrick starts to lead Rebecca, who almost collapses, but Proctor catches her, and she glances up at him apologetically.)
REBECCA: I’ve had no breakfast.
HERRICK: Come, man. (Herrick escorts them out, Hathorne and Cheever behind them. Elizabeth stands staring at the empty doorway.)
PARRIS (in deadly fear, to Elizabeth): Go to him, Goody Proctor! There is yet time!
(From outside a drumroll strikes the air. Parris is startled. Elizabeth jerks about toward the window.)
PARRIS: Go to him! (He rushes out the door, as though to hold back his fate.) Proctor! Proctor!
(Again, a short burst of drums.)
HALE: Woman, plead with him! (He starts to rush out the door, and then goes back to her.) Woman! It is pride, it is vanity. (She avoids his eyes, and moves to the window. He drops to his knees.) Be his helper!—What profit him to bleed? Shall the dust praise him? Shall the worms declare his truth? Go to him, take his shame away!
ELIZABETH (supporting herself against collapse, grips the bars of the window, and with a cry): He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!
(The final drumroll crashes, then heightens violently. Hale weeps in frantic prayer, and the new sun is pouring in upon her face, and the drums rattle like bones in the morning air.)
Use the following thesis statement to develop a focused, structured, and coherent multi-paragraph literary analysis essay:
John Proctor is the hero of this story because he stands up against the corrupt court and refuses to lose his good name by confessing to lies, even if it means his death.
Your essay should include textual evidence that supports your ideas.
This activity should take about 90 minutes. Many standardized writing assessments are timed, so working within the 90-minute time limit can provide valuable practice for you. Manage your time carefully so that you can
read the text
plan your response
write your response
revise and edit your response
Your essay must include
an introduction, including the thesis statement “John Proctor is the hero of this story because he stands up against the corrupt court and refuses to lose his good name by confessing to lies, even if it means his death.”
evidence from the text
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