John Proctor- the Crucible

Topics: The Crucible, Salem witch trials, Tragic hero, John Proctor / Pages: 3 (682 words) / Published: Apr 15th, 2002
John Proctor: A Tragic Hero

Over the years, literary devices have changed as writers continually come up with new ones. One device that is has been used many times throughout the generations is the appearance of the tragic hero. Since the days of Shakespeare, tragic heroes have been used to enhance the meaning of a literary work. Any character cannot be described as tragic hero. Several key characteristics are necessary for the tragic hero to possess in order to be characterized as such. He must be high-ranked or have a high standing in the community. He must have a weakness or a tragic flaw and be involved in a struggle. In the end, that struggle will lead to his downfall. Arthur Miller purposely incorporates these characteristics into John Proctor, one of the main figures in The Crucible. He masterfully portrays Proctor as a tragic hero even though he is a common man. A tragic hero is usually a member of the upper class or royalty. However, Miller believes that a common man is just as capable of being a tragic hero. Fear is the underlying element of tragedies according to Miller. In The Crucible, there are many instances of fear. The witchcraft hysteria strikes fear into the heart of the Salem townspeople. Miller realizes this, and this is the main reason for the presence of Proctor as a hero. The Crucible is definitely a tragedy as stated in Miller's definition of a tragedy because there is a tremendous amount of fear throughout the play. Using a common man as the hero is something that has never been done before. A common man has the exact same abilities to know fear. Therefore, Miller is easily able to convincingly show Proctor as a tragic hero. John Proctor is a good example of a tragic hero in Miller's play, The Crucible. He demonstrates all of a hero's characteristics in some way or another. Although not upper class, he is still an upstanding member of the community. He is well respected and looked up to by those around him. As Miller describes him,

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