Is John Proctor a Tragic Hero in The Crucible Tragedy

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According to , a tragic hero is “a person who faces adversity, or demonstrates courage, in the face of danger. However, sometimes he faces downfall as well” . In the Tragedy “The Crucible”,a farmer by the name of John Proctor committed adultery with Reverend Parris’s niece Abigail Williams. Abigail was caught dancing in the woods with other girls; with one being naked. Reverend Parris’s daughter Betty became unconscious and wouldn’t wake. Soon after, Abigail was accused of witchcraft. 

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Proctor is a tragic hero due to his good and evil character traits, being torn by an inward struggle, and having external conflicts that pressure him to resolve the internal conflict. Proctor a sinner, committed adultery. He was unfaithful to his wife due to his lust for Abigail. “He is a sinner, a sinner not only against the moral fashion of time, but against his own vision of decent conduct” . Although Proctor has many flaws, he sacrificed himself and admitted to adultery to save his wife.

In comparison to any other person Proctor had both good and evil traits. In the beginning of the play, John was a very ungrateful, selfish and prideful man. He lied to his wife about his conversation with Abigail. Not to mention he didn’t include that he was alone with her in the first place. Elizabeth stated that John wasn’t being open with her. He then answers, “I’ll plead my honesty no more, Elizabeth.” Then continues, “ I should have roared you down when first you told me your supposition.”  He was regretting confessing to her. She wanted Proctor to go to Salem and inform Ezekiel Chever about the conversation with Abigail. He replied, “I’ll think about it.” Proctor knew that 14 people were already in jail at the time and could possibly be hanged. To him his reputation wasn’t work risking at the time. In Act III Elizabeth was accused. Proctor later sacrificed his reputation to save his wife and friends. “My wife is innocent, except she knew a whore when she saw one.” Proctor risked himself although he knew he was innocent. It was just the “goodness” within him.

Looks can be deceiving but internally Proctor was struggling. He had to deal with the consequences of his affair. Mentally Proctor was going back and forth between saving innocent people and his reputation. When he finally decided to confess to witchcraft he was choosing his life. He stated, “ I want my life” . He wanted to see his children grow and be able to live. Proctor said to Danforth, “ I have three children – how may I teach them to walk like men in the world, and I sold my friends”. Proctor knew that if he publicly confessed his life was not worth living so death was what he chose. Proctor was hanged. He restored his soul.

Proctor’s external conflicts pressured him to resolve his internal conflicts. Proctor tried expressing to Abigail that what they had was over. She obviously couldn’t accept. As a result she went after thatThen he had to deal with Elizabeth and her emotions.  

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