John Proctor Tragic Hero

The Puritan religion is a very harsh religion and how they were against the devil with a passion but said you had a slim chance of going to heaven. You had to almost be perfect to make it into heaven. The character I have chosen to analyze is John Proctor, a protagonist in The Crucible by Arthur Miller. John Proctor is a middle aged farmer married to Elizabeth Proctor and is the father of three boys. He is a very prideful character that can shows signs of obsession about his reputation as he would risk his life to protect his name. John Proctor is a man that reevaluates his values throughout the course of the book as he copes with his personal expectations of himself. He had issues with his wrath and unleashing it on people frequently; however this was did him good in getting his reputation up because he was known for exposing hypocrisy. This gave him the title of an honored man in town; he also had pride and cared about how others viewed him.

In the beginning of the book John Proctor commits adultery with Abigail, a manipulative seventeen year old girl with no morals. This affair with Proctor sparks the jealousy in Abigail of Elizabeth which will have a toll on her later on in the book. I believe that majority of it was not his fault but Abigail’s because she constantly acts provocatively towards him and as a male he acted to the situation wrongly which hurt his relationship with Elizabeth. He soon realizes that he has committed a extremely bad sin and believe that he has shamed himself in the eyes of God.

Proctor would be considered a religious person that even helped build the church in his town disregarding his discontent with the reverend in the town at the time, because of this the weight of the sin on him crushes how he sees himself. Even though he is hard on himself for the sin he committed, near the end of the book his wife admits that her attitude and aura around him contributed to his doings. This confession shined light on why he would do such a thing. Even though I would not have fell for the manipulative girl, it still sheds light to the situation and from that I can understand his position; even though I don’t agree that it was the right thing or even an acceptable thing to do. This event is a major event in the book for John Proctor because his decisions throughout the novel all have the weight of this event on them as he tries to redeem himself. To reclaim his reputation as a good man of the town after the affair he had with Abigail he does everything in his power to protect the people close to him that are being tormented by Abigail which could lead to some people being hung. He had to protect the people around him like his wife because he believed that it was his fault that she was blamed for witch craft in the first place.

Abigail was a maid of the Proctors house but after Elizabeth finds out that she was seeing John behind her back Abigail is immediately fired which lights the flame to her anger that would soon engulf Elizabeth. After Abigail accuses Elizabeth for witch craft, John Proctor immediately, with no hesitation, stands up for her as his guilt takes over. Another problem that he has was his guilt; this was the leading emotion that led his quest to redemption. He effects Abigail’s decisions by enraging her which causes Abigail to aim her anger towards his wife because of the jealousy. Abigail was so willing to get revenge on Elizabeth she stabbed herself in the stomach with a needle and then gave her a voodoo doll with a needle in its stomach so that she would be set up to be blamed for witch craft. If John Proctor had continued his affair with Abigail instead of going back to Elizabeth the chance of these harming events towards Elizabeth would be very slim because she would not have had enough motive for Elizabeth in particular. This is how John.

The communities also decided the fate of another. like how John Proctor was hanged because of the communities opinion about him. They also didn’t have a lot of rights and a lot of people struggled in the society. John Proctor is a good example of a struggle to find a place in society. He’s the type of person that wants to plow his fields on the good days even if the good day is only on Sunday of that week. His struggle to make a living with his crops gets him into trouble with the very religious Puritan community of Salem Massachusetts.

John Proctor only got involved with this whole witch trial because of a girl by the name of Abigail Williams. If it wasn’t for her falling in love with John then he wouldn’t be put on trial for anything. Abigail got him involved with the witch trials because John wanted to go back to his wife and he didn’t want Abigail in his life at all. After Abigail came into his life he started not believing in himself. He was struggling in life and with this family life. He tries to ignore the events in Salem but when Mary Warren announces that she is an official of the court and that Elizabeth Proctor has been mentioned. Lust isn’t John’s only fatal flaw, and pride gets in the way of confessing to adultery. He is faced with a dilemma between choosing his wife and pride when Elisabeth gets arrested. John confesses to adultery to save his wife and preserve his pride.

The audience feels sorry for him as he is trying to set things right but there seems to be no end to his misery. John was a good human being who made attempts to correct his faults. John faced death bravely knowing that he would die peacefully as he had put the interests of others before his needs. John proctor is thus the true hero of The Crucible, albeit a tragic one. Even though John doesn’t achieve his goals of freeing Elizabeth and stopping the overall madness, he does take two significant steps toward regaining self-respect in Act III.One: he doesn’t stop fighting the false accusations even after he finds out that Elizabeth is pregnant and therefore safe for a while. He feels a greater duty to his community and proceeds anyway. Two: by openly admitting his adulterous lechery, he is no longer a hypocrite. He has publicly embraced his sin. In Act IV, Proctor conquers the final hurdle on his path to redemption. This is no easy task; he stumbles a bit along the way.

In order to save his life, he is tempted into admitting that he is indeed in league with the Devil. He justifies this lie to himself by saying that he’s a bad person anyway, so what’s the difference? At least this way, he’ll be alive.

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John proctor tragic hero. (2021, May 20). Retrieved August 10, 2022 , from

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