The Characteristics Of A Tragedy In The Crucible By Arthur Miller

990 WordsOct 2, 20174 Pages
What makes a tragedy a tragedy? According to Aristotle, specific criteria exist to define a well-written tragedy, and The Crucible by Arthur Miller is a quality example. In Poetics, Aristotle explains the standards to evaluate works of various authors and describes tragedy as “an imitation of an action that is complete, and whole, and of a certain magnitude” (VII). Tragedies must include a protagonist, referred to as the tragic hero, that encounters a complication and experiences a series of recognitions, discoveries, and reversals in a realistic manner. By doing so, the story elicits pity and sympathy from the audience. In The Crucible, John Proctor acts as the flawed protagonist and undergoes a catastrophe, which will test his true…show more content…
In addition to mimesis, many instances of hamartia occur in The Crucible due to the characters’ judgement errors and weaknesses in moral integrity. An obvious example is the twenty deaths of innocent townspeople, who are denied the chance to defend themselves after being falsely accused of witchcraft and assumed to be guilty. According to Judge Danforth, outside witnesses of witchcraft are nonexistent due to its invisibility, and the crime is only validated by spectral evidence. He explains the lack of necessity of a lawyer for John Proctor, “In an ordinary crime, how does one defend the accused? One calls up witnesses to prove his innocence. But witchcraft is ipso facto, on its face and by its nature, an invisible crime, is it not? Therefore, who may possibly be witness to it? The witch and the victim. None other. Now we cannot hope the witch will accuse herself; granted? Therefore, we must rely upon her victims” (Miller 293). Furthermore, he gives complete power to the presumed victims and is oblivious to the potential corrupt motives. This mistake in judgement is essential to the tragic storyline of The Crucible. However, the major fault that caused the entire calamity is the affair between John Proctor, the protagonist, and Abigail Williams, the antagonist. Although John knows his infidelity towards his wife, Elizabeth, is morally wrong, he allows his lust to influence his actions. His involvement with Abigail is not only unhealthy, but also
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