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Do you consider John Proctor to be a hero?

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Introduction

James Fowkes 10BH 3.2.01 Do you consider John Proctor to be a hero? What defines a hero? Should they fight for people's rights, or people's lives? Should they be strong and brave? Should their skills have been tested against fearsome odds? Should they be wise and noble? These may all be what you would call the stereotypical definitions of a hero. Can we say John Proctor had these qualities? Are these the real qualities of a hero? I think a hero needs to have done something that has saved a life, or a cause, or a country, or saved anything that someone values, no matter how small that thing is. It is also possible for someone to be heroic one day, and a criminal or a coward the next. Even when he is first introduced, John Proctor seems to have a dark streak about him. His conversation with Abigail reveals that he has had an affair with her, but he has put it behind him. This is one of the things that John has to fight within him - his hidden guilt about what he has done. ...read more.

Middle

Aye naked! And the wind, God's icy wind, will blow." In other words, he is going to expose the truth about the girls, maybe even expose the truth about him and Abigail if it means saving his wife's life. When he is at the court, he restrains himself well, keeping himself from revealing the truth or bursting out, until Abigail arrives. After hearing her lie so many times, he finally speaks the truth about them. It is one of the hardest things for him to do, as he breaks into tears almost immediately. When Mary turns on Proctor, all his feelings about the girls, Abigail, his wife and his guilt comes crashing down on him. He shouts loudly, "I say - I say - God is dead!" He says that the whole court is appealing to the Devil by killing so many people. Proctor is taken to the jail, but he knows that doubt will be cast on Abigail and the rest of the girls. Proctor also has an independent nature about him, something that goes against him in court. He does not visit church, he does not like his minister and he willingly admits to not liking the authority that Parris' church imposes, "I like not the smell of this authority." ...read more.

Conclusion

His agony over everything eventually takes over when he shouts, "God is Dead!" and he is arrested. When his wife convinces him to sign the confession, he fights with his own soul about whether to sign it. If he lied, and signed his name would mean nothing, and to him, his name means a lot. If he did not sign, he would be hung, and in the end, he decided he would rather save his name than save his life. At this point, even his wife understands that, and lets him 'have his goodness.' Because of this, I think John Proctor is a hero. He fought not only his own guilt, but also the wrath of others in the town. He saved his name, which can seem as important as life at times. In doing so, he showed courage and self-sacrifice, because when he ripped up the confession he was throwing away his life. As he said to his wife, "Show them a stony heart and sink them with it!" John Proctor showed them a heart that was in constant torment, but was strong enough to fight those that would threaten it. John Proctor was indeed a hero, one who won one of the hardest battles of all - against his own conscience. ...read more.

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