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The Crucible’s Tragic Hero Essay, Research Paper

A tragic event should bring fear and pity to the reader and the hero should be courageous and noble, hence when combined a tragic hero is presented. The protagonist, John Proctor, portrays a tragic hero in The Crucible. His hamartia of treachery caused great internal struggles, he displays hubris by challenging authority, and encountered catastrophe as the play went on.

John Proctor?s decision to betray his wife caused internal turmoil and ultimately lead to his ruin at the end of the play. Proctor?s tragic flaw was that in which he committed treachery, which provoked part of his misfortune. Proctor?s serious mistake of adultery delivered problems with Abigail and caused an accusation of his wife practicing witchcraft. Abigail was a grown young woman, and yet she was an orphan who mistook John Proctor?s sexual urge for true love. When Proctor told Abigail that the relationship could no longer continue, the girl became angry and did not accept this.

In order to prove Abigail?s sinfulness and to discredit her in front of the court, Proctor proclaimed that he had an affair with this evil whore. This outraged the court officials and they summoned Elizabeth Proctor to find the truth. When asked about her husband, Elizabeth?s soul was twisted, for revealing the truth could destroy her husband?s reputation, but lying meant breaking her solemn oath to God. Because she was noble to her husband, Elizabeth chose to lie and save her husband, but perhaps condemn herself to hell for such a sin. This scene indicates dramatic irony, for Proctor knew he had already confessed, and Elizabeth was unaware of the confession.

The court jailed Proctor; Elizabeth Proctor?s selfless act backfired. Proctor committing adultery with Abigail directly caused his jailing and indirectly caused his wife?s allegation as a witch; for Proctor starting the spark to Abigail?s intense lascivious emotions toward him resulted in his death. The court viewed his real truth as a lie and believed he defied authority. Although, John Proctor did not truly defy authority in that scene of the play, for he told the truth and his wife lied, he challenged control in many other aspects.

John Proctor exposed pride through his hate of Reverend Parris. John Proctor proclaimed that he did not go to Church, an act the court and townspeople viewed as a revolt on the supremacy of God, because the Reverend Parris was corrupt. Parris was materialistic and cared more about the sake of his reputation than the health of his own daughter. Proctor resented the Church because Parris ran it. In the eyes of officials, this casual negligence of God turned Proctor into an unchristian, sinful rebel. Though Proctor?s reasons for disregarding the Church were quite reasonable, people did not accept them in the particular time period.

Near the end of The Crucible, Proctor believed that he had lost the battle of witchcraft. He felt there was no longer any hope that the court would free him from execution, and he panicked. A person can be strong for his entire life, but when the moment of death comes, he will crack. If given a choice between life, but by lying, or death, but through honor, the decision is made more difficultly through the hysteria

experienced. At first, John Proctor chose life, though he knew this meant a life of regret and dishonesty. Proctor did, however, realize his mistake in choosing this sort of life over an honorable death before it was too late. Proctor?s decision to ultimately choose a death of honor over a life of shame was the major reversal of the play. John Proctor?s recognition was his discovery that he contains goodness. ?For now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor.? When Proctor believed that he was a man of no decency, he chose to live by confessing witchcraft, since this lie fit his personality. Through Elizabeth?s support, this tragic hero saw the goodness he possessed and acted upon it by reversal and by choosing an honorable death. He realized that this action was one that would bring about Elizabeth?s forgiveness, and her mercy was what he searched for throughout the play.

John Proctor?s sudden change was a major crisis in the play, and from this stemmed his catastrophe. The catastrophe tied up the drama. The catastrophe revealed the tragedy and integrity of John Proctor, making his character a tragic hero, for he accepted his death with silence and showed a capacity for suffering.

John Proctor showed that he was a tragic hero through his struggles within the play. He struggled with his sin of adultery, for it caused breaks in his bond between him and his wife. He grappled with authority, for Proctor was not one to listen to authority simply because it was the excepted thing to do. He also faced death because he chose to keep his name and deny all charges of witchcraft. Though John Proctor was not a perfect man, his beliefs and values were in the right place; he listened to his heart. When his head told him to listen to the court because it is the law and when Hale told him to choose to live as an accused witch, Proctor did not listen because he knew that these acts were not in the best right thing to do. He followed his soul, a lesson that everyone should learn, rather than following a particular human being (or monster Osama Bin Laden) and or group.



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