1 December 2016
Rumor, hearsay, and gossip are powerful in a negative way. More often than not, they are unsubstantial statements snowballing until nobody knows where and how they began. The Christian Bible even considers gossiping a sin. There have been numerous cases that people were wrongly accused because of rumor, hearsay, and gossip. For example, John Proctor, a farmer and innkeeper in Salem, Massachusetts in the 17th Century was put to death because of gossips and lies. His story was dramatized in Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible (1953). The play themed around morality, duty, and belief, and how some people easily gave up their stance, while others would rather die and not let lies go further. Because of this upright and powerful theme, the play has been on public examination syllabus for teenagers for a long time.
In the play, John Proctor was accused of being a witch because he refused to testify against others as witches. If one confessed to be a witch, he could continue to live a reformed but shameful life; but if one refused to confess when being accused, he would be put to death. In the play, John Proctor refused to put his signature on his witch confession, because the signature would also imply his accusations on others. He said: “I am John Proctor! You will not use me! I have three children—how may I teach them to walk like men in the world if I sold my friends? … say Proctor broke his knees and wept like a woman, say what you will, but my name cannot … I mean to deny nothing. Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life. Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul, leave me my name!”
Be truthful. Use your name and signature in their most upright fashion.