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John Proctor, the Tragic Hero

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GCSE Drama Coursework 2008: The Crucible by Arthur Miller How does Arthur Miller present John Proctor as a tragic hero? In the 1950's Arthur Miller wrote the crucible as he was being tried for 'un-American activities'. He wrote the book to try to explain the dangers in moral absolutism. He saw many parallels between the witch hunt in the1600's and McCarthyism in the 1950's. John Proctor is the tragic hero and a protagonist of Arthur Miller's tragedy The Crucible. He is one of the most influential characters of the play as he has power and a good name. This theme of reputation plays a big part in the play as it was important in the 1600's. It also contributes to one of the causes of John Proctor's downfall. John Proctor was a farmer who was in his middle thirties lived and on the outskirts of Salem. He had two sons and was married to Elizabeth Proctor. He was a respected man "Proctor, respected in Salem" and also was feared in Salem, and he had a attitude towards hypocrites, "In Proctor's presence a fool felt his foolishness instantly" this made him a target for the other villages and increased the resentment between them. He is the individual who must decide whether or not he will assert himself against the overbearing authoritarian government. John Proctor is somewhat removed from society, and this is emphasized by the fact that they live on the outskirts of Salem. Proctors 'code of moral conduct' was almost to unrealistic and this made it difficult to follow. ...read more.


John's relationship with Abigail had finished by the time when the witch trials started, however Abigail still has feelings for John and John has admitted sometimes coming to Abigail's window. Abigail describes John as a kind man who "put knowledge in my heart." There was an obvious danger in rejecting Abigail, as she tries to get John for herself, and in doing this, she starts the hysteria that leads to the hanging of the innocent people in Salem. This relationship between them violates John's moral code which he feels very guilty about, and is one of the reasons that he didn't tell the court. In the court scene, at first John delays telling the court that he has committed lechery with Abigail. He did this because he wanted to protect his name. He has a strong determination to protect and maintain. He also thought that Mary would provide him with enough evidence so that he didn't need to reveal his affair to the court. He is a very loyal man and this shows when he stands by his decision to fight against the court and help his friends even though he has found out that his wife will not hang for at least a year because of her baby. John Proctor's words, "I have known her, sir. I have known her." In this scene are very courageous as he is giving away his good name and risking charges from Abigail. He is very proud of his name and it has taken a lot to get him to tell in the end, like the arrest of Elizabeth ...read more.


He also manages to finally undermine the court, by proving that the trials are false and are only being carried on because the name and integrity of the government and theocracy in Massachusetts is at risk. John dies heroically. He does not give in to save his own life, and until the final moment is loyal to his friends, by not giving any names in his confession, and then by not confessing. He also remains true to his faith and therefore is seen as a martyr by the people in Salem. We see John Proctor as a tragic hero at the end of this play because, as Arthur Miller stated in Tragedy and the common man, 'the tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is willing to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing, his sense of personal dignity. So we see John as a hero because he fights to the death for what he believes in and his story generally arouses empathy in the audience. His sense of reputation in this play is very important to him, which is why he is willing to die for his name. Through his death however, he manages to restore his sense of personal dignity, and to finally aid the prevention of the Salem witch trials. He also manages to regain the respect of the others in the town. John Proctor died a tragic hero and a martyr along with Rebecca Nurse and Giles Corey. Robyn Morgan 10X1A The Crucible Coursework ...read more.

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