John Proctor in the Crucible is the Tragic Hero

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A tragic hero can be deemed as virtuous character who makes a lapse of judgment, in turn, bringing on their own demise. Throughout The Crucible, the author depicts John Proctor as a tragic hero who has many vices including lust, lies, and adultery. In fear of being ousted, Proctor, who’s reputation is highly respected, attempts to suppress his affair with the family’s nanny, Abigail. However, this triggers a series events throughout Salem, where allegations ultimately lead to the tragedy of John Proctor’s life.

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The affair Proctor had with Abigail is a fatal imperfection. Abigail starts all the witch fixations because of her desire to get rid of Elizabeth. She was in love with John and when he choose his wife, Abigail goes for blood not only rooted towards Elizabeth, but the rest of Salem. This causes an uproar of the witch trials. A deeper point Miller depicts on the damaging of affairs and what lying and unfaithfulness causes.

In the quote, ‘Because it’s my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worthy the dust on the feet that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul, leave my name.” Miller describes Proctor not wanting to tarnish his name and family’s reputation. You could say that it was his pride that got the best of him.

He ultimately allowed to determine his fate and then in the end, led to him to doing the right thing, in his eyes. A prime example of this was when Hale tries to convince him to lie to save himself from being hung. Hale asked him to sign his name on a document that would be his testament of “guilty” of seeing the devil which would be shown to the public. ‘It may well be God damn liar less than he that who throws his life away for pride.” This was also another important decision that he had to make. He was not going to do it at first, but his wife, Elizabeth, told him to do what he thought was best.

In conclusion, John Proctor fits the description of a tragic hero. He this shows through his nature of sacrifice and purpose. Proctor determines it would be best to acknowledge his affair, but by the time he elects to disclose his misdoings, it is too late to undo all past the actions that led up to this moment. He was found guilty of witchcraft and sentenced death by hanging.

However, when given the opportunity to live, he caves in and claims to seeing the devil, only to go back even on this last lie, because he does not have the heart to be freed and saved by a lie. Proctor was a prideful man, and nothing could change his mind to do something he did not believe was right. Lying for his own personal gain when he knew what he was doing was not right and could not let any of that ruin his family’s name. Miller teaches the reader a valuable lesson that unfaithfulness and pride will lead to the downfall of any person. 

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John Proctor in The Crucible is the Tragic Hero. (2021, Apr 03). Retrieved February 1, 2023 , from

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