The Common Man in a Millerian Tragedy: A Study of Miller’s Conventions in a Millerian Tragedy

Decent Essays

“I believe that the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were” ( Tragedy and the Common Man). Arthur Miller follows his Millerian conventions of tragedy in the writing of The Crucible. Often literature uses tragedy to display a depressing theme represented by the tragic hero.
Miller uses the conventions of self-recognition and the common man to complete his tragedy in The Crucible. Miller defines recognition to be the “need of man to wholly realize himself is only fixed star” (Tragedy and the Common Man), clearly, miller believes a self-recognition to be the most important convention of a tragedy. The protagonist, John Proctor portrays a tragic hero in The Crucible, where his recognition is the …show more content…

Proctor holds no high rank or status in Salem Village, also he is no different than most of the other men in his community. John proctors normalcy as the” common man” allows the readers of the crucible to relate themselves to him in ways that would not be possible if he held much more importance in the play. In final analysis, Miller uses his conventions of the common man and the tragic night to show how a common man like John Proctor, through self-recognition, has finally “[realized] himself” (Tragedy and the Common Man).
In addition, Miller also acquires the conventions of the tragic flaw and the tragic feeling in The Crucible in order to accomplish a modern tragedy. Miller defines the tragic flaw to be “ an admirable characteristic, not a weakness” (Tragedy and the Common Man). John Proctor posses more than just one flaw, but according to Millers definition of “tragic flaw”, John only has one. Proctor’s major flaw is that he possess excessive pride and desire to keep his name clean. This vanity leads to both his and Elizabeth's arrests, and ultimately his own death. When John faces the difficulty of pleading guilty to witchery and continuing with his life, or refusing to confess to society’s falseness and hanging, after discussing it with his wife, Elizabeth, Proctor decided to falsely confess to avoid death. After vigorously signing his name on the confession paper, and as judge Danforth was

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