Essay Plan – 2002 no 4 – Ethics

(a) Outline at least two religious teachings on war [10]

  • Option 1
  • In the OT God was on their side
  • Delivered them from their enemies
  • As he’d promised in his side of the covenant
  • God is presented as a god of action
  • Goal was not destruction of the enemies of his people
  • Enemies were often instruments of God’s retributive power
  • War must be conducted under God’s guidance or it is rooted in human greed and selfishness.
  • Struggle between Israel and her enemies is seen as the cosmic battle between good and evil under the Messiah.
  • Or option 2 – the just war
  • In Christian times the church has viewed it as a duty sometimes to fight for justice
  • (though Jesus’ own teaching of pacifism before an aggressor began to take hold on the public consciousness during the first world war)
  • Indeed the Christians’ unwillingness to fight in defence of the Roman Empire was weakening its defences
  • So Augustine responded with the Just War theory
  • It holds that while life is sacred it may at times be taken to protect or defend the lives of the innocent and in the divine cause of justice
  • 6 principles of resort to war – jus ad bellum
  • 3 of conduct in war – jus in bello
  • None of which guarantee that their lofty principles will be up held but at least they try to limit the damage.
  • Or the third option – pacifism
  • Rooted in the Sermon on the Mount – do not resist evil, turn the other cheek, love your enemies and pray for your persecutors
  • Jesus was the model for this behaviour – led like a lamb to the slaughter to be crucified
  • Conrad Grebel a leader of the Swiss Brethren of the Peace Churches – ‘true Christians use neither worldly sword nor engage in war.’



(b) ‘An individual’s conscience is of little significance in the context of fighting to protect one’s country.’ Examine and comment on this view. [10]

  • Pacifists believe in the individual’s inalienable right to refuse to fight
  • Plenty of famous people have refused to fight even for their country
  • Pacifism is a more acceptable stance nowadays
  • What is one’s country fighting for? There must be plenty of Americans in Iraq at the moment who wonder!
  • Does it depend on the issue at stake?
  • Surely one’s conscience does make a difference to the level of commitment you might make
  • Enough soldiers who returned from Viet Nam were so shocked and appalled by the horrors and atrocities they witnessed or even took part in that their consciences were so overwhelmed by their actions they suffered from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
  • Many of us do give care of our consciences into the hands of the authorities in the belief that they know best; the shock is when they prove not to.
  • Theoretically one’s country does have the right to call upon you to fight and at least Augustine’s jus ad bellum and in bello principles should ensure a just cause.
  • But if conscience is indeed an innate and /or God-given faculty, to allow an outside authority to decide for us what is right and what is wrong is to abdicate our natural responsibilities.
  • And Aquinas and Butler both saw it as sinful to act against conscience.
  • And Butler said only obedience to it will make us truly happy
  • All mankind was made in the image of God so to kill others even in the so-called legitimacy of war is still wrong.
  • Aquinas viewed the purpose of human conscience was to ensure we act to seek the highest good the summum bonum and in so doing we were unlikely to do a wrong action
  • An individual’s conscience must not be of little significance – indeed it must be of the highest importance, for this way it is less likely that war will always be the resort and the more individual consciences that are listened to the more likely an alternative solution will be found.
  • If we do not have free will then the outcome of our actions is pre-determined and it does not matter if we fight or not, however if we do have free-will then we have responsibility for our own actions and obeying our consciences is a good guide to right behaviour.
  • Of course conscience can make the wrong decisions and convince us of the rightness of wrong things. This corrupts the conscience and is worse than the subsequent sin itself.

Crucible Quotations for Essay choices

(see teachit pdf for list)

7 and 8    John Proctor (tragic) hero?

He has the reputation in the village as a hard worker and no fool, who doesn’t involve himself in the petty jealousies of the other inhabitants but who is forthright, straight and respected for his own sense. He has no patience with Putnam and his faction but looks after Giles who he knows for a simple but not mean man. In the stage notes he is described as having a sharp and biting way with hypocrites. His smallholding is five miles out of town and therefore quite isolated. He doesn’t go to church much and Rev Parris certainly knows of his mistrust.

He has let himself and his wife down through his affair with Abigail – as a result he feels great guilt and as if treading on egg-shells around Elizabeth; adds salt to the stew… is stilted in conversation with her.

He dares not tell her he met Abigail alone, he is angered by her automatic judgment of him

He cannot even recite all the Ten Commandments lest it reopen her wound: when [delicately] reminded of the adultery commandment, the stage directions tell us [as though a secret arrow had pained his heart] emphasising just how near the surface lies his guilt.

But when the crunch comes he goes to the court to admit everything even though he will be quite shamed and his enemies will dance!…

Ultimately he is like a reed or willow, bowed but unbroken by the storm of events in Salem, purified in the heat of the Crucible of the troubles. On the verge of confessing he agonises that he is not worthy to hang with some of the good souls who have already hanged. He cannot face Rebecca’s forgiveness which is worse than her condemnation. Finally he rediscovers his goodness and his sense of worth. ‘…there’s your first marvel… for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor.‘ As Elizabeth says at the end when both Parris and Hale are begging her to change his mind, ‘He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him.’

  1. Characters who change – choose from e.g. Hale / John Proctor / Elizabeth Proctor / Mary Warren / Giles

And characters who don’t change e.g. Rev Parris / Thomas Putnam / Abigail / Judges Danforth and Hathorne.


Miller is very keen to allow us to see that Hale was a good but ultimately flawed and misguided man. In the notes he describes Hale as an ‘eager eyed intellectual’ to whom this was a ‘beloved errand‘ and who felt the ‘pride of the specialist‘. He has spent a good deal of time on the subject of witchcraft and considers himself an expert. He is even shown to be no idiot or deluded man who sees witches everywhere having already discovered one such accused to be just a ‘pest‘ under his scrutiny. However he never doubted that there were such things as witches and as Miller writes he is sure ‘We cannot look to superstition in this. The devil is
precise.’ Of course it is Salem that becomes the Crucible for his beliefs too as he is tested and begins to doubt some his core fundamental beliefs causing much agony of his soul.

(make sure you also read the notes on pages 37-40 He has a reputation for being a ‘sensible man’ even John Proctor has heard of him.)

Look for differences in the way Hale is portrayed, how he acts and what he says following his introduction to the play compared to as events develop and the judges come into town.

Some useful quotations:

Hale of Rebecca Nurse ‘God forbid such a one be charged.’ Shows his naïveté

Hale’s arrogance: affronted at Proctor’s justification at not attending church but praying in his own house ‘your house is not a church’ and when told by Proctor that Abigail herself had told him it was ‘naught to do with witchcraft ‘ he arrogantly proclaims ‘Mister, I have myself examined Tituba… They have confessed it.‘ Now it is Proctor’s turn to make him doubt himself ‘…if they must hang for denying it? There are them that will swear to anything before they’ll hang; have you never thought of that?‘ his faltering answer reveals his [own suspicion] though at this stage he dares not examine it too closely.

Look also at the whole of Act 4 but in particular his dealings with John and Elizabeth and his speech on p 115. He has become increasingly desperate. He has tried to persuade the judges of the damage they have done to the town; and failed. Now his last ditch effort to get Eliz to persuade John to confess ‘for if he is taken I count myself his murderer.’