John Proctor as a Tragic Hero

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 623 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 623|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. The Tragic Hero's Flaw
  2. The Fall from Grace
  3. The Implications of Proctor's Tragic Hero Status
  4. Bibliography

John Proctor, the protagonist of Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible," is often regarded as a tragic hero. His journey from a respected farmer to a man torn between his principles and societal expectations showcases his tragic flaw and the ultimate downfall he faces. This essay will explore the characteristics that make John Proctor a tragic hero and analyze how his actions and decisions align with the conventions of a tragic hero. By examining his internal struggles, moral dilemmas, and ultimate sacrifice, it becomes evident that John Proctor embodies the essence of a tragic hero.

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The Tragic Hero's Flaw

One of the key elements of a tragic hero is their tragic flaw, a character trait that leads to their downfall. John Proctor's flaw is his pride and reputation. He is a proud man who values his integrity above all else. This flaw is evident from the beginning when he refuses to attend church, stating, "I like it not that Mr. Parris should lay his hand upon my baby" (Miller 17). Proctor's pride prevents him from submitting to the authority of the church, setting the stage for his later conflicts with the court. His refusal to sign a false confession further highlights his pride, as he prioritizes his name and reputation over his life.

Proctor's flaw is further emphasized by his affair with Abigail Williams. Although he deeply regrets his actions and seeks redemption, his guilt and shame prevent him from confessing the truth openly. This internal conflict between his desire to do what is right and his fear of damaging his reputation creates a moral dilemma that drives the plot forward.

The Fall from Grace

As the play progresses, Proctor's flaw leads to his fall from grace. He is accused of witchcraft, along with his wife, Elizabeth Proctor. The court proceedings become a battleground for Proctor's internal struggle between his pride and his desire to protect his loved ones. In an attempt to save his wife, he confesses to his affair with Abigail, stating, "I have known her, sir. I have known her" (Miller 108). This admission not only exposes his own guilt but also serves as a turning point in the play.

Despite this confession, Proctor's downfall is sealed when he tears up the signed confession, refusing to allow his name to be tarnished. His final act of defiance against the corrupt court system, even in the face of certain death, solidifies his status as a tragic hero. Proctor's refusal to compromise his principles ultimately leads to his tragic demise.

The Implications of Proctor's Tragic Hero Status

John Proctor's journey as a tragic hero raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of morality, individuality, and societal expectations. His unwavering commitment to his principles and refusal to conform to societal norms force the audience to confront their own beliefs and values. Proctor's tragic flaw serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us of the dangers of unchecked pride and the consequences it can have on our lives.

Furthermore, Proctor's sacrifice highlights the importance of personal integrity and the power of individual agency. In a society where conformity and obedience are valued above all else, Proctor's defiance serves as a reminder that one's moral compass should not be compromised for the sake of societal acceptance.

In conclusion, John Proctor's journey in "The Crucible" aligns with the conventions of a tragic hero. His tragic flaw, his fall from grace, and his ultimate sacrifice all contribute to his status as a tragic hero. Through his struggles and choices, Proctor forces us to reflect on our own values and the importance of maintaining our integrity, even in the face of adversity. John Proctor serves as a timeless symbol of the human struggle between conformity and individuality, making him a truly memorable and tragic hero.

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Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. Penguin Books, 2003.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

John Proctor as a Tragic Hero. (2024, Jun 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from
“John Proctor as a Tragic Hero.” GradesFixer, 13 Jun. 2024,
John Proctor as a Tragic Hero. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Jul. 2024].
John Proctor as a Tragic Hero [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 13 [cited 2024 Jul 22]. Available from:
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