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Wesley Smith Parker Period 5 11-6-12 Whats In a Name? What is in a name you ask?

A name is meaning, a name is power, and a name is all you have in the end. Arthur Miller answers this big question in his play, The Crucible. John Proctor, the protagonist, finds himself in a constant battle not only for his wifes freedom from jail after being accused of being a witch, but also to forgive himself for all the sins he committed against her as well. When also facing accusations of witchcraft and a false confession, John Proctor is forced to accept his grim fate when ultimately choosing his name over his life. John Proctors decision represents why having a good name is better than having a miserable life and proves that without a name, you have nothing at all. What can a person do with a spoiled name? To be simply put, nothing. In The Crucible, Proctor finds this dilemma increasingly challenging after hastily signing a confession out of desperation for his life. However, in doing so, he would be looked at and treated differently disregarding all of the good deeds he performed all his life. If Proctor had chosen life, how would he have been able to be a good example for his children? For instance, John Proctor stated I have three children-how may I teach them to walk like men in the world.(Miller Pg.1231) The village would look at them as witch children, and treat them with great disrespect. Why would his sons actually listen to his teachings after being branded with such shame? With a spoiled name comes a miserable life that reaches down through generations. Proctor knew

that in death he would save his legacy by passing on to his children an honorable name and good reputation. Moreover, how could he, himself, live life honorably after selling his name? In the end, all a person has is their name. Proctor began to realize being stripped of everything he has worked hard for just isnt right, thus leading him to a change of heart. Proctor exclaims How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!(Pg.1232) In this quote, Proctor explains that he has giving all that he has. Why should he give them his name to soil too? It would leave him with nothing at all. His entire life would then be wasted. Therefore, he ripped the confession that would have haunted him for the rest of his life. Being left with his name in good standing gives Proctor piece of mind. He will die knowing that he still has his dignity, his reputation, and more importantly, his name. All in all, Arthur Miller has done an extraordinary job of answering the big question of Whats in a name? in the play, The Crucible. A persons name has great power. It can either ruin you or make you. An innocent man accepting the death penalty just to spare his good name takes a lot of strength and pride. As a result, by doing that, Proctor did what was right for himself and for his children. After all, your name is all you have when you come into this world so it is worth protecting throughout life and even in death.

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