They Died for Freedom.
If you had a choice to die for freedom of beliefs, or to be physically free but spiritually and mentally oppressed what would you do? Saint Thomas More and John Proctor were both men who refused to change their beliefs instead of going along with the crowd. And they both died for it. There is a difference between these men however. While Saint Thomas More did everything he could to avoid his situation John Proctor did nothing but aggravate it. This is a look at the similarities and differences in the lives of these men.
Let's start with the life of More. Saint Thomas More was a wealthy nobleman who lived in England during the rule of Henry VII. During his lifetime he achieved the rank of High Chancellor to his majesty. More was beheaded under charges of being a traitor. But the real reason he died was because he refused to sign a petition passed by parliament proclaiming the King to be the highest rank in the catholic church, and for not consenting to the King's divorce to Queen Catherine.
After he was martyred he attained Sainthood.
John Proctor was a lowly farmer who lived in Salem, Massachusetts during the late 1600's. John Proctor was involved in an affair with Abagail Williams, his housekeeper. Elizabeth Proctor (John's wife) found out about the affair and dismissed Abigail from her house. Shortly after Abigail started accusing women of witchcraft and accused Elizabeth along with many others. Trials were held and John Proctor tried to defend Elizabeth with the help of their new hired hand, Mary Warren. But Mary ended up turning on John and accusing him of witchcraft. John was faced with a choice of either lying and saying he is a witch or dying for the truth. In the end, he decided to die instead of lie.
There are a number of facts that tie Saint Thomas More to John Proctor. The first comparision would be death. Both More and Proctor choose to die rather than to admit to something that they didn't do. Instead of following the beliefs of others they stuck to what they believed God wanted them to do. Another thing they both had in common was the fact that they both thought that if they stuck to the law the would be safe. Proctor and More believed if they told the truth in court no harm would come to them. The last similarity is that they were both wrong. But this is where the similarities end.
More and Proctor had many similarities. But they were both very different from the other in the way they handled the situations. Saint Thomas More was believed to be a very cautious man. He would not say if he agreed or disagreed with the King because he knew that this information could be used against him in court. More avoided the court. John Proctor on the other hand only aggravated his situation. Proctor's first mistake was having an affair with Abigail Williams. His second mistake was to bull-headedly rush into court and try to save his accused wife. If Proctor was smart he would have known that he could make no difference in the court proceedings at all. He should have known that evidence was purely circumstantial and not based on facts. If he was smart he could have avoided death. So while More was dragged into his situation, Proctor rushed blindly into his. The second biggest difference in the two men is how the they handled death. Saint Thomas More was steadfast in his refusal to sign his petition, while John Proctor was almost swayed by Nathan Hale to sign his confession. In the end it makes no difference. Both Proctor and More still died for what they believed in. They were still both Martyrs.
After reviewing the facts, it is likely that John Proctor could have avoided death if he had not involved himself in sexual affairs outside of his marriage. However, Saint Thomas More could have done nothing to prevent the events that led up to his death. Both were great men, and both died for a great cause. They died for freedom.