Arthur Miller's John Proctor: An Everyday Hero

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John Proctor: An Everyday Hero Heroism does not only involve people such as Batman and Superman. Heroes can be everyday people that stand up for others or act in courageous ways. A good example of this idea comes from Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, where accusations of witchcraft lead to Witch Trials in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, and ultimately the deaths of several innocent people. The main character, John Proctor, has a history he is not very proud of, as he committed adultery with a young girl named Abigail Williams. Despite this, he stands up for people in the play who cannot do it themselves, while characters like Abigail and Judge Danforth are against him. John Proctor represents the theme that people can be heroes despite having…show more content…
Throughout the story, Proctor does many things that can be characterized as heroic. An example of this is when he confesses to committing lechery with Abigail Williams in order to save his wife, Elizabeth: “I have known her sir, I have known her” (Miller 1309). When he says this, he is giving not only Abigail up, but also himself, in order to protect his wife. This takes immense courage, bravery, and selflessness at a level only found in people that are characterized as heroic. These actions involve several important characteristics in heroes, but not the most important characteristic: honesty. Being honest in a situation where one’s life might be on the line is something that is hard for the average person to accomplish. Proctor exhibits this honesty when he is given the opportunity to save himself from being hung by telling a lie, but instead he rips up his lie and shows everyone that he has the capability to do the right thing: “I can. And there’s your first marvel, that I can. You have made your magic now, for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor” (Miller 1333). John finally feels like he has done something right by not lying even if it may mean the cost of his life. Although he made the mistake of signing the confession, he makes up for it by telling the absolute truth. This takes tremendous bravery knowing the outcome of this situation. He risks his own life…show more content…
After Proctor tears up his false confession, he is sentenced to death by hanging. This does not sit right with Reverend Hale, a reverend brought in to analyze if there was witchcraft in Salem. He tries to tell Proctor’s wife to stop him from doing this as he clearly sees that John never committed witchcraft, and he wants to save an innocent man. Elizabeth argues that he made this decision for himself, and it is the decision that he wanted to make: “He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!” (Miller 1334). He finally sees himself as a good man, and Elizabeth thinks that that is the most important thing for him. Despite all of his mistakes that he made, he finally feels like he has done something right and that his life means something. On the other hand, Judge Danforth believes that he deserves to be killed: “Hang them high over the town! Who weeps for these weeps for corruption” (Miller 1333). Although some believe that Proctor is doing the right thing, he ultimately dies because of Judge Danforth’s ignorance. He feels that he must kill Proctor and all of those accused of witchcraft to prevent an overthrow of the courts due to a lack of consistency. He shows no remorse, which verifies Proctor’s heroic life and portrays Danforth as a villain. Overall, Proctor’s death wraps up a truly heroic life for a man that had several
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