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John Proctor – Tragic Hero? How does he fit in to the tradition of tragic heroes e.g. Macbeth, Oedipus, Hamlet? What is modern about him?

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Introduction

John Proctor - Tragic Hero? How does he fit in to the tradition of tragic heroes e.g. Macbeth, Oedipus, Hamlet? What is modern about him? Aristotle said that a tragic hero is "A man neither entirely good nor entirely bad who through some flaw in his character or through some error of judgement, passes from great happiness to great sorrow." Also said of a tragic hero is "an action serious and discrete in itself," "a man of some eminence," and "a tragic flaw - often the result of pride." In this essay I'm going to compare John Proctor to other tragic heroes and decide if he falls into the same situation. Macbeth as a tragic hero is married and relatively happy at the beginning of the play but his flaws are ambition and a suppressed desire to be King. ...read more.

Middle

This makes religion one of his enemies. Another of his enemies is wealth, in the form of Putnam. Proctor has had disputes over land with Putnam. John Proctor believes he is an important, respected figure in Salem and believes he is more powerful than the court and won't get caught up in the hysteria. He doesn't believe in witches and doesn't want a witch-hunt, but by trying to stop the mass hysteria he puts himself in the position of being accused as a witch. When John Proctor comes forward and says the girls are frauds he is too late. He leaves it too late because of his pride; he doesn't want people to know about his affair with Abigail Williams because it will ruin his reputation. When John Proctor does finally admit to the court the girls are lying, the court want to believe but it would mean they had already killed too many innocent people. ...read more.

Conclusion

At the end, Proctor wrestles with the decision to save himself from the gallows with a confession. He does not want to go to the gallows with the others and have anyone think of him as a martyr because he refuses to confess out of spite. He does not want to have to name the six other prisoners as guilty in his confession because he does not want to save his life by tarnishing the names of others. He does not want his signed confession nailed on the church door because it makes the six convicts look like unrepentant sinners. He chooses to go to the gallows because there is no way to save himself without putting blame on the names of the other prisoners. John Proctor doesn't take the easy opportunities, as don't the other tragic heroes. This is because taking these options is too convenient and goes against literary tradition. ?? ?? ?? ?? Felicity Giles 11D ...read more.

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