John Proctor: A Tragic Hero

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In the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller, the town of Salem is afflicted with hysteria, intolerance, and accusations that lead to death. According to philosopher Aristotle, a tragic hero possesses a tragic flaw, excessive pride, and an inevitable downfall. Protagonist John Proctor illustrates a tragic hero because he is presented as happy, powerful, and privileged, which later leads him to suffer because of his own actions.
First of all, John Proctor possesses a fatal flaw, pride, which is a characteristic of a tragic hero. Proctor’s fatal flaws includes honesty and pride. He lacks honesty because he wants to keep his image held high, which ultimately lead him to his death. He could have saved his own life by confessing to witchcraft, but
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John Proctor illustrates that he is an ethical man because he highlights the fact that young girls, children, are controlling Salem purely with their words. Proctor 's ethical attributes are conveyed when he realizes that the group of accusers may be pretending to be afflicted, “I’ll tell you what’s walking Salem – vengeance is walking Salem. We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!” (73) which causes other to question his credibility. He also speaks this to emphasize the problem that everyone assumes that the accusers, children, are innocent. He also underlines that people have personal motives to accuse other because of their biases. Another example of this is in act III, when Proctor confesses to his act of adultery in order to save his wife from death, “God help me, I lusted and there is a promise in such sweat...My wife is innocent” (102). Proctor is attempting to accuse Abigail of faking all the accusations and affiliations with the devil because he knows that Abigail longs to remove Elizabeth from his life. His admission of adultery conveys his feelings of guilt and extreme love towards his wife Elizabeth. Proctor exudes ethics even when it damages his own
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