In Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero, a tragic hero must be superior to the average person in

700 WordsApr 23, 20193 Pages
In Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero, a tragic hero must be superior to the average person in some way. They must evoke pity, and do so by being imperfect, and having a tragic flaw. In The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, John Proctor is portrayed as the tragic hero. It may appear that Proctor’s tragic flaw is lust, due to his affair with Abigail. But lust does not explain John’s refusal to become involved in the trials before his wife was accused when he knew that Abigail was lying. It makes more sense that his flaw would be selfishness. It gives a better explanation for his demise and his lechery. It was not the act of adultery, but his reluctance to admit to it and accuse Abigail of being a fraud that lead to him hanging from the…show more content…
So the only way Proctor can prove Abigail is lying is to admit to his adultery. While it was an admirable act of selflessness, it was also a desperate last attempt to prove his wife’s innocence. Later on when Danforth, Parris, and Hale try to convince him to admit to witchcraft in exchange for his life, he gives in at first, his selfishness winning over. However, he refuses to accuse others of witchcraft, saying “They think to go like saints. I like not to spoil their names” (Miller 141). When Danforth says that he plans to show the entire town the document Proctor signed saying he admits to witchcraft, Proctor tears up the document. When asked why he would not give Danforth the document, he says “Because it is my name!” (Miller 143). However, Proctor already admitted to lechery, meaning that he was willing to sacrifice his name to save Elizabeth, and he admitted to witchcraft, showing he was willing to sacrifice his name to save himself. So when it became clear he would also be ruining his friend’s good names, he could not do it. He believes that the reputations of those that hang are worth more than his life, and he makes the ultimate sacrifice so they can die with honor. It is then clear that John Proctor has discovered how to act selflessly. In order to be a tragic hero, Proctor must also evoke a sense of pity from the audience. In order to do this, Miller uses character development, a punishment that greatly outweighs the crime,

More about In Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero, a tragic hero must be superior to the average person in

Open Document