[Dead/Alive]: 308.Crucible vs Majestic

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2006-09-29 03:26:00
Jake Justice
Fourth Hour

Guilt…what is guilt, maybe a matter of opinion? Or maybe…, perception? In both the “Crucible” and “The Majestic”, it seems to me that the level of guilt varies from person to person. The accusers of Witchcraft and of communism thought they were “divinely” chosen or duty bound to ferret out the two evils. What about the accused? How did they see it? Think about it, what would you do if you were living in one of these two periods in time and were accused falsely as were they? How would you deal with it? Would you sit back and be run down? Or would you stand for what was “right” by your moral values?
I really don’t know how I or anyone else for that matter would handle such false accusations. But I do know that after reading and watching the “Crucible” and “The Majestic”, two men really stood out in my mind as being men of high integrity, John Proctor-“Crucible”, and Peter Appleton-“The Majestic.”
In John Proctors case, he had to deal with the vengeance of an obsessive woman, Abigail. Throughout the “crucible”, men and women alike were accused of the invisible “crime” of Witchcraft. As one of the few who saw the truth of the matter, John was faced with a near impossible task of discrediting the accusations to save the lives of countless men and women of Salem, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, many had already been hanged for their “crime.” In the end, John was accused and set to hang. At his hanging, he and three others highly thought of in the community sent out a self righteous prayer as they were each put to the end of their ropes. In so doing, they ended the trials.
As for Peter Appleton, he’s a matter all in itself. At the start of the story, he’s a screenwriter making movies. Until one day he decides to go to a meeting with Lucile Angstrom, which happened to be a communist meeting. Unfortunately for Peter, this was during the age of McCarthyism. As a result, he was accused of being a communist and lost everything. As was natural for most men who had lost everything, he went for a drive after getting drunk and ended up driving his car off a bridge. Next thing he knows, he’s on Lawson’s beach with no memory of his past what-so-ever. An old man finds him and takes him to town to try and figure out who he is. Here, Harry Trimble mistakes Peter for his long lost son, Luke Trimble. From there, Peter thinks he’s Luke and lives his life as such. Until he comes across one of the movies he’d written. Seeing the movie brought his memory back in a flood of emotion and distress. By now the feds had caught up with him and gave him his mandate to appear in court the following day. 
It is here that Peter Appleton shows his character of integrity to the world. He stood in the court room and with the help of the memory of Luke and what Adele had helped him to see, he made a speech to all in the room that turned the tables on the committee that had tried to force him into either lying to “purge” himself, or go to prison. He risked everything in order to let the truth be known, that, to me shows great integrity.
So guilt, how is it measured? Who gets to decide the guilty from the innocent? The answer..? You and only you can decide your innocence. Anyone else is thinking from their standpoint on the subject. If you sit back and allow the “bullies” of the world run you down like a scared calf at a rodeo, then you’re selling yourself short. In the case of John Proctor and Peter Appleton, they challenged the “authority” trying to beat them into submission and won out, regardless the outcome, both were heroes of many. There is a lesson to be learned from both stories. Stand for what’s right, do not bow to the tyrants and fools who would have others follow them. Lead your own life, not one pre-ordained, or any life ordered by another.

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