Arthur Miller 's The Crucible

Decent Essays

In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, the normal criteria that a central character fits, is not met by the protagonist, John Proctor. Common traits one might expect to find in a traditional hero are humility, patience and caring. John Proctor, while he is the principal, has many qualities that could instead assume him the role of the antagonist and land him in the adversary box. His background and slight character flaws cause him to take on the the personalities of both a protagonist and antagonist. Proctor, because he exhibits qualities of both types of characters, is what is known as a tragic hero. Tragic heroes are characters within stories that due to a judgment error, is the cause of his/her own demise. In the case of Proctor, his error was made when he refuses to give up the names of other alleged witches, and refuses to allow the court to hang his confession in the center of town. John Proctor embodies three major signs of tragic heroism. Proctor, even through the rest of the village perceives him as great, knows deep down inside that because of past sins, he will never be able to live up to his reputation. As well, John Proctor is a tragic hero because he had the power to stop his own execution, therefore his downfall was no one 's’ fault but his own. This reluctance to could be seen as a character flaw. The final criteria that Proctor meets for a tragic hero is that the punishment given is way too severe for the “crime” committed. His sentence to death for being a wizard

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