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The Crubcible - John Proctor Essay

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John Proctor is the tragic hero of The Crucible. How far do you agree with this statement? The Crucible is a play written by Arthur Miller set in Salem during the witch trials of 1692. It studies the hysteria about witchcraft during this time and how the justice system coped with all the accusations. One of the main characters in this play is John Proctor; I will be looking at whether or not he would be considered as a tragic hero. This decision will be based upon his moral values and choices in life. John Proctor could be described as a tragic hero because in Act 2 he stands up for his wife Elizabeth when she is mentioned in court. He reacts furiously when told this by Cheever. His voice is 'angry and bewildered'. This shows he loves her and didn't mean the things he said to her in their argument previously in the scene. He says to Mary Warren 'My wife will not die for me.' Because the statement is so blunt it shows Proctor doesn't want anyone else to take the blame for his mistake which shows one of the qualities of a hero. Proctor knows that Abigail accused Elizabeth of witchcraft in court because of his affair with her. 'Why, Abigail charged her [Elizabeth].' ...read more.


He doesn't want Mary to lie even if the lies would have helped his own situation. Proctor is using the strong belief Mary has in religion to get her to do what is right. Religion was very strict and important in this time so Mary feels she has to do the right thing to please God and avoid going to hell. As the play continues, Proctor for a second time has to make a decision concerning his pride. The court presents him with an ultimatum in which he can plead guilty and live or be hanged with the others who didn't confess. After speaking with Elizabeth, Proctor decides that he wants his life and surrenders to a confession. 'Nothing's spoilt by telling them this lie (that he practiced witchcraft) that were not rotten long before'. Miller's uses the word 'rotten' because it means both that Proctor is morally corrupt and that he is untrustworthy, disloyal or treacherous. This shows Proctor is not as heroic, as it was suggested, but that he is tragic because of the so many things wrong with his personality. He says he should be punished, if not for witchcraft, for his other sins anyway. He sees signing his name to witchcraft as karma for his affair with Abigail. But after he signs the confession, he tears it up 'Proctor snatches it up, a wild terror rising in him' signing his own death warrant because he does not want to live a lie. ...read more.


However, as the play unfolded he soon found out that his life with Elizabeth and life in the village would never be the same again as a result of his foolish actions. Although this may have been tragic his flaws prove that he is not a hero. His greatest flaw, though, is his affair with Abigail. After committing adultery with her, she believed that John was deeply in love with her. When asking him to leave Elizabeth failed Abigail tried to get Elizabeth killed by accusing her of witchcraft. 'Who charged Elizabeth?' Proctor asks this to Mary Warren in Act 2 'Abigail Williams' Mary replies. This worked and she was arrested and sentenced to hang after the birth of her unborn child. Elizabeth's death was all down to Proctors careless fling with Abigail. This shows no sign of Proctor being heroic. Although the audience do not straight forwardly blame Proctor, they seem to blame Abigail as she is the one who has been built up as a bad character because of her stealing, lying and witchcraft. I think that Proctor is the tragic hero of the Crucible because order has been restored at the end of the play, but tragically, as Proctor dies. He recognized his errors and flaws and tried to correct them and overcome them. Because he didn't deserve his punishment, pathos is formed within the audience. This shows the qualities in John Proctor that would make him a tragic hero, a good person with human flaws but that had undeserved misfortunes. ...read more.

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