The Crucible

by: Arthur Miller

Five Key Questions

Summary Five Key Questions

5) Why didn’t more people sign false confessions that they were witches to save their lives?

Plenty of people did sign false confessions, in which they were required to name others that they saw with the Devil. But many other people could not bear to falsely accuse their friends, neighbors, and families, especially since the only way those people could clear their names would be by implicating more members of the community. Like John Proctor, some people in Salem preferred to die rather than sign something that they knew was a lie. These people may have had strong religious beliefs and felt God would damn them for lying, and they may also have realized that their reputation would be restored after the witch trials were over, even if they had lost their lives. At the same time, it’s not hard to understand why someone would sign a false confession. For some, it was easier to lie and say they were witches so that they could return to their lives and families. They may have thought that they could confess to falsely confessing and be forgiven at some future point.