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Quotes

Quote #10

PROCTOR: 1 have three children-how may I teach them to walk like men in the world, and I sold my friends?
DANFORTH: You have not sold your friends-
PROCTOR: Beguile me not! I blacken all of them when this is nailed to the church the very day they hang for silence!
DANFORTH: Mr. Proctor, I must have good and legal proof that you-
PROCTOR: You are the high court, your word is good enough! Tell them I
confessed myself; say Proctor broke his knees and wept like a woman; say what you will, but my name cannot –
DANFORTH, with suspicion: It is the same, is it not? If I report it or you sign to it?
PROCTOR – he knows it is insane: No, it is not the same! What others say and what I sign to is not the same!
DANFORTH: Why? Do you mean to deny this confession when you are free?
PROCTOR: I mean to deny nothing!
DANFORTH: Then explain to me, Mr. Proctor, why you will not let-
PROCTOR, with a cry of his whole soul: Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!
DANFORTH, pointing at the confession in Proctor's hand: Is that document a lie? If it is a lie I will not accept it! What say you? I will not deal in lies, Mister! Proctor is motionless. You will give me your honest confession in my hand, or I cannot keep you from the rope. Proctor does not reply. Which way do you go, Mister?
His breast heaving, his eyes staring, Proctor tears the paper and crumples it. (IV.284-294)

Proctor is unwilling to blacken his friends’ reputations – and he clings to his own reputation for loyalty and integrity. So he throws his confession away.

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