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The Crucible by Arthur Miller - Barron's Booknotes
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ACT IV, SCENE 7

Hathorne comes in and Proctor says he'll confess. It's a shaky
decision, and he still feels he needs Elizabeth to back him up.
But she has given him his freedom; she won't take it back now,
though his choice breaks her heart.

Hathorne, of course, is electrified by the news. He runs out
shouting to the world that Proctor will confess. But John
continues to agonize. Has he made the right decision?

I think it is honest, I think so; I am no saint. Let Rebecca go like
a saint; for me it is fraud!

He is still fishing for Elizabeth's support. Why is he so unsure of
himself? His thinking is sound, all his reasons are the right ones.
A travesty of a court convicted him of a crime that doesn't exist,
and even if it did, he didn't commit it. The only thing that's real
is that rope out there. Hale said it: life is God's most precious
gift. What possible reason could John have for throwing it
away? Pride? How dare such a sinner as he is have so much
pride?



Remember Elizabeth's answer to Hale. This is the Devil's
argument, and Proctor knows she would never fall for it herself.
But he still thinks of her as "that goodness." He believes he
knows himself better.

It is evil. Good, then-it is evil, and I do it!

Here is an echo of the same nihilism we heard at the end of Act
II and Act III. Elizabeth's love hasn't saved him yet.

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