Theme Of Pride In The Crucible

In The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, there many themes which play a huge role. An example of one of the more important themes is Pride. Pride is defined as a feeling of self-respect and personal worth (Google Dictionary). Throughout, pride influences the actions, reactions, and emotions of the characters in all sorts of ways throughout the story. Three characters are impelled by their pride. Proctor whose excessive pride causes him to overlook reality and the truth, Elizabeth Proctor whose pride makes forgiving her husband difficult, Hale who takes pride in his ability to detect witchcraft. Some people are so proud, that they are willing to protect their pride by any means, even death.

Elizabeth is a very stubborn woman. Her husband cheating on her was very detrimental. She was deeply hurt by her husband and her pride adds more strain to the already unstable relationship. Proctor wants her to forgive him and to put the incident behind her. She tells him, “…it come not that I should forgive you, if you’ll not forgive yourself.” ( NEED TO FIND PAGE) She does not realize that the only way proctor will forgive himself and fix his pride, is if she forgives him. If Elizabeth just put her pride behind her, her husband may have forgiven himself. She is finally able to find the forgiveness in her heart. Elizabeth’s pride was understandable. It is human nature to let pride get in the way of forgiveness. Proctor refused to sign his name away hoping that Elizabeth could finally forgive him and see him as a good man. Hale’s pride would cause him trouble, just the same.

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Hale is a very bright and religious man who has pride in his ability to detect witchcraft. He was called to Salem by Parris in order Check on Parris’ daughter. “This is a beloved errand for him; on being called here to ascertain witchcraft he felt the pride of one specialist whose unique knowledge has at least been publically called for.”Hale steps into action as he interrogates the girls. The pride in his work shoes on the confidence he has. It is almost to the point where he seems arrogant. When he realizes that some of the people convicted are innocent, He pleads with them to confess. He feels he is responsible for their lives because it was his purpose to rid the town of witchcraft. He thinks himself as a failure when he cannot convince the accused to confess. They themselves have too much pride to lie and convict themselves of witchcraft. His well justified pride is broken.  He came into this enthusiastic and excited, bearing gifts of high religion. Now all he has believed in and worked for seems like its fake. Hale was once filled with pride, and now filled with shame.

Pride did play a major role. Proctor’s and Elizabeth’s pride kept them from seeing the truth in their situation. Elizabeth couldn’t see she needed to forgive her husband before he could himself, and Proctor couldn’t see he needed to reveal the truth about Abigail to end the accusations. Proctor’s and Hale’s pride would bring them much sorrow. Proctor’s brought sorrow when his wife was accused and Hale’s was feeling he’d lost several innocent lives. Proctor’s final act was based on justified pride and excessive pride. He did want to live, but he allows himself to be hanged because he knows Elizabeth will see him as a better man. This is justified. He also did not want the court to have the satisfaction of adding him to the list of confessed witches because once again he would be living a lie. This is excessive because he lets pride stand in the way of his original decision. The title of the play relates closely to the theme of pride. Crucible, itself, means severe test. Throughout the play, the pride of the characters, especially Proctor’s, is put to crucial tests. Many of them are life altering. These crucial tests of pride are what developed the story from beginning to end.

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