"The Crucible" By Arthur Miller, Clearly A Representation Of The True Meaning Of Tragedy.

1327 words - 5 pages

Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible' is clearly a representation of the true meaning oftragedy. John Proctor was, in fact, the medium, the tool, of which Miller utilized toconvey a universal depiction of tragedy. A broad definition of a tragic hero is aprotagonist who, through faults and flaws of his own and in the society in which heexists, falters in the grand scheme of things. This mistake leads to suffering, whichultimately leads to a self-realization. Miller, himself, has said, 'Tragedy, then, is theconsequence of a man's total compulsion to evaluate himself justly,' leading us tobelieve that a greater theme encompasses this downfall. Miller, as well as many otherliterary critics seem to convey that tragedy revolves around two universal aspects: fearand freedom. 'The Crucible' is a direct parallel to the multiple ideals of tragedy and thuscenters around John Proctor's fear and freedom while he exists as a tragic hero.The first stage in the process of establishing the tragic hero for Miller wasrelaying the characteristics of John Proctor. It was essential that Proctor be viewed as theso called 'good guy' in the plot, one who stands out or the audience can relate to. He isdescribed as a 'farmer in his middle thirties' with a ' powerful body' and a 'steadymanner', and is already being established as the protagonist in which we sympathizewith.(p.19) Miller's choice to describe him in such a fashion is very significant. Bydescribing the tragic hero as a 'strong, steady, farmer' the dramatic effect is even greater.Who else better to fall victim to his own personal freedom and the fear of others but thestrong, stern character? John Proctor's description also provides another outlet to conveythe dynamic nature of his character. While the physical side of Proctor deterioratedtowards the conclusion of the story a contrast is created. John is said to be '...anotherman, bearded, filthy, his eyes misty as though webs had overgrown them, ' an obviousdiscrepancy from his initial condtion.(p.123) Thus, John's physical delineation is anapparent parallel to the changes he emotionally undergoes making him a dynamiccharacter. Miller also establishes Proctor as the protagonist by giving him qualities theaudience found favor with. John went against the normalities and conceptions of thetownsfolk. An aspect we can truly justify, especially in America. Proctor's practicalnature is indicated when he often does not attend Church. He does not agree with Parris'talk of hell, exclaiming 'Can you speak one minute without we land in Hell again?' andthus turns away from the Church, clearly emphasizing that rebellious side.(p.28)The second step in creating the tragic hero is emphasizing the mistake or flawwhich brings upon the character's descent. It is in this stage that fear and freedom enteras a major part of John Proctor's actions.'And if society alone is responsible for the cramping of our lives then theprotagonist must needs be so pure and faultless as to force us to deny...

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