The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, is a play in which the characters learn about themselves and change through good and bad. A focus theme from the play is "Long suffering may instruct that moral integrity, human dignity, and spiritual freedom are of more value than life without." Rebecca Nurse's and John Proctor's moral characters illustrate this theme throughout the play. .
Rebecca Nurse "suffers" from the beginning of the novel when accused of murdering Ann Putnam's babies. Early in the play Rebecca is discussing the possibilities of witchcraft within Salem and the effect it will have on the community and states, "There is prodigious danger in the seeking of loose spirits. I fear it, I fear it. Let us rather blame ourselves . . ."(28). Rebecca is wise and understands when trouble arises in the village. She respects "spiritual freedom" but foresees the detriment witchcraft will have on Salem village. Rebecca is accused of murder, Francis Nurse pleads with Hale to do something and Hale states, "Mr. Nurse, if Rebecca Nurse be tainted, then nothing's left to stop the whole green world form burning"(71). The "dignity" and respect Rebecca has within the town is displayed here when Hale, who barely knows Goody Nurse, insists the world will burn if her name is tainted. Rebecca is thrown into jail and Proctor is brought into the play when his wife is taken to jail and he tries to help her out but ends up telling the court his story. Proctor confesses to aiding the Devil, Rebecca is brought out and asked to confess but cries out, "Why, it is a lie, it is a lie; how may I damn myself? I cannot, I cannot"(140). The "moral integrity" of Rebecca is upheld because she will not lie, as Proctor has, to save herself. She knows Proctor has lied to save himself but feels her integrity is more important than living life in a lie. Proctor signs his written confession but will not turn it in and Rebecca declares, "Let you fear nothing! Another judgment waits us all!"(144).