Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. God, deemed to be the author of all truth, has several acolytes who are obligated to honor that truth. To fulfill this commandment is not to lie ” intentionally deceive another by speaking a falsehood.
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However, though under a rigid theocracy, the people of Salem lie in order to save themselves from death by a noose. Evident throughout both Act 1 as well as Act 11, each character portrays a false persona as they interact with one another. With secrets and greed hidden within the hearts of Salem, only the people who are truly Christian do not have to assume any sort of pretense. Of these people, John Proctor resides. As the events tear through Salem and his wife is soon suspected to have practiced witchcraft, John decides he must forsake his as well as any one elser’s reputation to save her life. Portrayed to be an even-tempered and respected yet feared man, Proctor upholds a very high reputation amongst the people. Nonetheless, He is a sinner, a sinner not only against the moral fashion of the time, but against his own vision of decent conduct. (Act 1, page 19) Previously involved with Abigail whilst a married man, John Proctor committed adultery.
Elizabeth Proctor, his wife, has knowledge of the incident(s) consequently firing Abigail from being their servant. She wants me dead, John, you know it! (Elizabeth, page 57) Though a strong accusation, Elizabeth is correct due to the fact that Abigail claimed Goody Proctor stabbed her with a needle in the stomach through a mere poppet that Mary Warren made. When asked about how the needle got into the poppet, Mary confesses that Abigail saw her place the needle there while they were in court. You`re coming to the court with me, Mary. You will tell it in the court.(John, page 75) Fearing Abigail`s wrath, Mary Warren claims she cannot charge murder on Abigail because she will kill her and charge him with lechery. Ultimately, Proctor disregards his own reputation and instructs Mary to do the same. Make your peace with it!(John, page 76)John Proctor`s words at the end of Act ll blatantly exhibit his vulnerability as he is willing to go through any lengths to save Elizabeth. Speaking to Mary Warren, John proclaims that, Now Hell and Heaven grapple on our backs, and all our old pretense is ripped away”make your peace! Peace. It is a providence, and no great change; we are only what we always were, but naked now. Aye, naked! And the wind, Godr’s icy wind, will blow!”(John, page 76) Anticipating the diminution of his good reputation, he knows that once his affair with Abigail becomes evident to the public all regarding his good name amongst the town will disappear. When he states that Hell and Heaven grapple on their backs, he is alluding to the fact that either their silence or their voice being heard will determine their fate in one of the two places.
By staying silent, death will continue to be brought among innocent people whereas if they break their silence it may allow them to atone for their sins. …we are only what we always were, but naked now.(John, page 76) Separated from their distorted persona`s, John exclaims that they are who they are and nothing can or will change that. No longer hidden by lies and falsifications, they are exposed and God himself will judge them. To be blunt, their sins are out in the open for everyone to see. Adversely, when Proctor says that …God`s icy wind, will blow! he is alluding to the fact that pain is and should be expected. What results from their confessions will be pain and discomfort because God`s icy wind resembles a form of judgement being brought down upon them for their actions. Furthermore, icy can also portray how the people of the town who were once close, now have broken acquaintanceships, connections, and were rigid with silence and indifference.
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