John Proctor Tragic Hero Essay

Abigail Williams before the play begins causes him great lilt and personal anguish as he carries on a strained relationship with Elizabeth. Proctor feels uneasy when he is around his wife; during an argument early in the play he instructs her to “look sometimes for the goodness in me, and judge me not” (Miller 1238). This single act of lechery, despite Proctors other noble qualities and respected status in the community, sets about a series of events that lead to his demise.

Following the affair, the jealously created inside Abigail prompts her to set the entire witch hysteria in motion, leading to her attempt to rid Elizabeth room the equation altogether. Proctor stands by his wife following this false accusation, and eventually he even decides to give up his good name and confess his guilt publicly, proclaiming that Elizabeth “is innocent, except that she knew a where when she saw one! ” (Miller 1259). This pursuit of a worthy aim can be seen as Proctor’s hamster; although he acted in good faith, his actions led to his arrest and conviction as a witch.

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John Proctor further proves his qualification as a tragic hero by being ethically period to his peers, but not perfect. Proctor is known as a simple, honest, and upright man Who carries himself With much honor and dignity in the Puritan community. He is a devoted Christian, but is never afraid to speak openly about the quality Of the religious leaders. Proctor Will not allow Reverend Paris to baptize his youngest son, declaring that he can “see no light of God in that man” (Miller 1242). Proctor always seeks the truth and denounces hypocrisy and corruption that exists in Salem.

He fights to expose the pretense of the witch rails and the true character of his neighbors. After his wife is taken from him, Proctor exclaims that “we are only what we always were, but naked now” (Miller 1248). Although exceedingly intelligent, honest, and righteous, Proctor is not perfect. His sin of lechery haunts him daily, and this struggle to judge his own morality results in a somewhat volatile temper when dealing with his wife and others. Another major flaw that Proctor possesses is his excessive pride and desire to keep his good name.

This hubris keeps him trot confessing to adultery early enough to halt the trials, Proctors original failure to act leads to both his and Elizabethan arrests, and ultimately his own death. At the conclusion of the play, Proctors pride comes to the ultimate test when he is faced with choosing between two lines of action. When faced with the dilemma of pleading guilty to witchcraft and living, or refusing to confess and hanging, Proctor decides, after speaking to Elizabeth, that he will surrender to confession.

After agonizingly signing his name on the confession, Proctor erupts in anger ND refuses to hand the paper over to Governor Detonator. Proctor, responding to an incredulous Detonator, cries, “HOW may live Without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name! ” (Miller 1272). This represents the catastrophe Of the play, as he tears the paper and seals his fate. Proctor cannot live knowing that he has confessed to lies and shamed not only his reputation and family name, but those who died only because they stand up for what is right. At this final tragic moment, Proctor has at last found peace with himself.

Elizabeth is signed to the fact that she cannot stop him, because ‘he have his goodness now’ (Miller 1273). Proctor dies as a symbol of goodness and dignity for other people in society to follow. In conclusion, John Proctor is the tragic hero of The Crucible because his tragic flaw leads him to a decision that results in his downfall. He encounters disaster despite displaying many noble qualities, and ignites sympathy and admiration as he leaves the audience with the misdiagnosis of the tragedy: it is better to die for a belief than to live a lie,


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