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The Crucible by Arthur Miller, exempts both pride and excessive pride which influence most of the characters throughout the play. Pride can be best described as dignity of oneself. Throughout the play, pride greatly influences the actions, reactions, and emotions of the characters in such ways that establish the conflict and resolutions of the play. Three characters, Hale, Elizabeth Proctor, and john Proctor are impelled by their pride. Hale, who takes pride in his ability to detect witchcraft; Elizabeth Proctor, whose pride makes forgiving her husband difficult; Proctor, whose excessive pride causes him to overlook reality and the truth.
Hale is an intellectual man who takes pride in his ability to detect witchcraft. He was called to Salem to analyze their situation. "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 publicly called for."
When things got rough Hale took his job personal and it takes a turn for the worse. He pleads to the people who were convicted of witchcraft to confess. He feels that he is responsible for their lives because he came to Salem to find and convict witches, but only innocent lives were being lost. He beholds himself a failure when he cannot convince the accused to confess. His well justified pride is broken. He came into this village like a bridegroom to his beloved, bearing gifts of high religion; the very crowns of holy law I brought, and what I touched with my bright confidence, it died; and where I turned the eye of my great faith, blood flowed up. He urges Elizabeth not to let her pride interfere with her duty as a wife, as it did with his own duty.
Elizabeth Proctor is a bitter woman who has been hurt deeply by her husband and her pride adds more strain to the already unstable relationship. Her husband, Proctor, only wants her to find complete forgiveness in her heart and to put the incident behind her. She tells him, "...it come not that I should forgive you, if you'll not forgive yourself."
She cannot grasp the fact he needs her forgiveness before he is able to forgive himself. As a result, Proctor denies his confession of witchcraft because he wants Elizabeth to accept him as a man of goodness. She is finally able to find the forgiveness in her heart. Elizabeth's pride was justified to a certain extreme. It's human for pride to get in the way of forgiveness. She let it go too far, to the point where Proctor allowed himself to be hanged because he wanted her to view him as a good man. Proctor's pride would cause him trouble, just the same.
Proctor is seen to be a prideful man. He need not have been a partisan of any faction in the town, but there is evidence to suggest that he had a sharp and biting way with hypocrites...he has come to regard himself as a kind of fraud. But no hint of this appeared on the surface. His excessive pride keeps him from allowing people to know him as the sinner he is. Elizabeth urges him to admit his sin to the court and end Abigail Williams' scheme. He won't permit it, until his wife is accused, and he doesn't want her to die for Abigail's vengeance. His pride was not all that justified. He should have revealed the truth about Abigail long before the accusations got out of hand. It may have avoided the loss of innocent lives.
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