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Every tragic hero has an encouraging future until some fatal flaw or lapse in judgement shrouds all of their actions, leading to their eventual demise. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, John Proctor is no exception to this statement; he succumbs to his death because of a failure in reasoning. Another one of John’s characteristics that leads him to be labeled as the tragic hero of The Crucible is his relatable tragic flaw, which is also known as his hamartia. In his constant effort to save his reputation after making a terrible mistake, he is the root of the deaths of many townspeople. At the end of the play, John will suffer the inevitable consequences of his flaws. He comes to realize that his fate is his own fault. John Proctor’s mistakes, relatable hamartia, along with realizing he is the cause of his own death by a lapse in judgement, characterizes him as the tragic hero in The Crucible.

John’s conformality with his relatable hamartia of an error in judgement that was disastrous encourages him fit the character of unfortunate saint, or tragic hero. In Puritanism, the consequences of lechery were unimaginable. Proctor knew this and willingly confessed to that crime in light of bringing Abigail’s lies and deceit to a head. After Mary Warren reveals that she knows about the affair, she tells John, “I have known it, sir. She’ll ruin you with it, I know she will.’ Proctor, hesitating, and with deep hatred of himself: ‘Good. Then her saintliness is done with'” (Miller 1181). Even after Mary Warren reminds Proctor that Abigail will ‘ruin him with it,’ Proctor still wants to bring to light Abigail’s pretense. He knows he messed up, and he is willing to take the blame to save countless people from being hung. Later in the play, John Proctor is talking to Francis Nurse. In order to prove that he is telling the truth, Proctor tells Francis Nurse, “A man will not cast away his good name” (Miller 1206). Proctor explains to Francis Nurse that he is being legitimate about his accusation under the reasoning that he wouldn’t throw his good name away over a lie. He knows and understands that his fall occurs because of his actions. John Proctor is obviously described as the tragic hero in The Crucible on account of his consciousness of his hamartia.

The definitive reason for John’s passing was his failure to comprehend the issues at hand when they occurred. He did not comprehend the gravity of his actions or how they would affect his future when he committed the sin of lechery. Elizabeth and John converse in Act II about John going to Salem and being alone with Abigail; John admits to Elizabeth that he cheated on her when he says, “But I wilted, and like a Christian, I confessed” (Miller 1164). Here, Proctor is pleading with Elizabeth for her forgiveness and is telling her how sorry he is for what he did to her. He also reveals his knowledge of what he did, but it was not until after the fact that he really realized what he had done. Later, when John ends up confessing to Judge Danforth, the head judge in the witchcraft trials, he states, “I have known her, sir, I have known her” (Miller 1206). In this line, Proctor is confessing to his sin of lechery. It is here that Proctor gives up his life and reputation. John knows his inability to understand his troubling issues is a complete purpose behind his passing, further characterizing him as a tragic hero.

When John Proctor commits the sin of lechery, he commits the action that will ultimately lead to his demise. Proctor knew this after the fact and willingly confessed to that crime in order to bring Abigail’s lies and deceit forward. Even after Mary Warren reminds Proctor that Abigail will ‘ruin him with it,’ Proctor still wants to bring to light Abigail’s subterfuge. The ultimate reason for John’s passing was his inability to grasp the issues at hand when they arose. He did not comprehend the enormity of his actions or how they would affect his future when he committed the sin of lechery, making him the tragic hero in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

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Home — Essay Samples — Literature — Tragic Hero — Tragic Hero: John Proctor 


Tragic Hero: John Proctor 

  • Categories: Arthur Miller The Crucible Tragic Hero

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Words: 1001 |

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Words: 1001 | Pages: 2 | 6 min read

  • Asher Miller (1915)   

Should follow an “upside down” triangle format, meaning, the writer should start off broad and introduce the text and author or topic being discussed, and then get more specific to the thesis statement.

Provides a foundational overview, outlining the historical context and introducing key information that will be further explored in the essay, setting the stage for the argument to follow.

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Should follow a right side up triangle format, meaning, specifics should be mentioned first such as restating the thesis, and then get more broad about the topic at hand. Lastly, leave the reader with something to think about and ponder once they are done reading.

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the crucible tragic hero essay

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John proctor: tragic hero.

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                          The tragic hero of Arthur Miller's The Crucible is John Proctor because he fits the criteria for a tragic hero. A tragic hero is a good person overall who has a tragic flaw that causes him to fall, but after which he gains redemption and turns out a better man. John Proctor is an astounding citizen of Salem, but he has a secret and tragic flaw of lust for Abigail Williams, which he regrets and tries to repent for eternally. His sin drives Abigail to such degrees of jealous that she accused Proctor's wife, Elizabeth, of witchcraft. This leads to the whole town being dragged in. He has already fallen before the play even begins when he succumbs to Abigail's seductions. His redemption comes when he finally steps up and directly accuses Abigail of fraud. Although he eventually dies, John Proctor turns out a better man by keeping his honor, his dignity, and most of all, his name. John Proctor fits all of the conditions of a tragic hero and therefore he is naturally the tragic hero of this drama. .              Proctor's lust for Abigail is his secret and tragic flaw, which causes him to fall. Proctor openly admits having fallen for Abigail, but he swears he It causes Abigail to be jealous of his wife, Elizabeth Proctor, and Abigail says, "She is a cold, sniveling woman, and you bend to her!" (24). Abigail is so driven by this jealously she accuses Elizabeth Proctor of witchcraft. In this way, the hysteria sparks and eventually blazes into a wildfire that no one can stop, not even Proctor himself. "If you do not free my wife tomorrow, I am set and bound to ruin you, Abby" (151). He is willing to go to any extent to stop the foolish hysteria, even as far as to reveal himself as a sinner and blacken his name and in doing so, harming his little-left pride. John Proctor regrets ever having the affair with Abigail, saying: "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" (23).

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