John Proctor as a Tragic Hero in 'The Crucible'

850 WordsJan 16, 20144 Pages
McAlister 1 Kyle McAlister Ms. Holder Comp Eng Honors 11 11/1/13 The Tragedy of John Proctor In the play by Arthur Miller The Crucible, the town of Salem is in pandemonium under the non-existent threat of witchcraft. Every character is either lying to save their lives or to end others, or dying for not admitting to a lie. One character who stands out among the chaotic conflagration is the tragic hero John Proctor. In Greek drama, a tragic hero is defined as “a great or virtuous character in a dramatic tragedy that is destined for downfall, suffering, or defeat.” No character in The Crucible fits this description better than John Proctor. John Proctor is the tragic hero in The Crucible because of his strengths and notable traits,…show more content…
Arthur Miller also conveys through John Proctor that it is acceptable to stand up to unjust authority. These traits that the character John Proctor possesses are what qualify him to be a tragic hero. A tragic hero must have tragic flaws as well, which John Proctor does not have a lack of. It is arguable that his affair with Abigail Williams is the root of the witch trials. He tries to fix it by attempting to silence her. “Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I’ll ever reach for you again. Wipe it out of mind. We never touched, Abby” (Miller 15.) This affair he has with Abigail is an extremely deadly flaw. Abigail starts all of the witch paranoia because of her desire to get rid of Elizabeth Proctor because she falls in love with John. When John discharges her from his home and his life, she goes on a blood buzz for Elizabeth and the rest of Salem, causing the entire tragedy of the witch trials. A broader point that Miller depicts through the effect the affair has is all of the damage that lying and unfaithfulness causes. McAlister 3 Another tragic flaw that, like most tragic heroes in Greek drama, John Proctor exhibits is pride. Proctor has the choice between life and death on pen and paper, to sign his name means life, to refuse means death. “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because
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