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The Tragic Hero Of The Crucible By Arthur Miller

1414 words - 6 pages

The Tragic Hero of The Crucible

A tragedy should bring fear and pity to the reader. A man in this tragedy should not be exceptionally righteous, but his faults should come about because of a certain irreversible error on his part. This man should find a bad or fatal ending to add to the tragedy of the story, for this man in the tragic hero. The protagonist John Proctor portrays a tragic hero in The Crucible; his hamartia of adultery causes great internal struggles, he displays hubris by challenging authority, and he encounters catastrophe through recognition and reversal.

            John Proctor's decision to betray his wife causes internal struggles and ultimately leads to his catastrophe at the end of the drama. Hamartia is the primary error of the tragic hero which provokes part of his misfortune. Proctor's serious mistake of adultery delivers problems with Abigail Williams and indirectly causes his jailing. Abigail is a grown young woman, and yet she is an orphan who mistakes John Proctor?s sex for true love. When Proctor tells Abigail that the relationship can no longer continue, the girl becomes angry and sorrowful (1098). In order to prove Abigail?s sinfulness and to discredit her in front of the court, Proctor proclaims that he had an affair with this evil child. The outraged court officials summon Elizabeth Proctor to find the truth. When asked about her husband, Elizabeth?s soul is twisted, for reporting the truth could destroy her husband?s reputation, but lying means breaking her solemn oath to God. Because she is selfless, Elizabeth chooses to lie and save her husband, but perhaps condemn herself to hell for such a sin. This scene indicates dramatic irony, for Proctor knows that which Elizabeth is not aware of, and this is that he has already ?confessed it? (1148). The court jails Proctor; Elizabeth Proctor?s selfless act backfires. Proctor?s hamartia of adultery indirectly causes his jailing and gives him the reputation of a liar. The court views his real truth as a lie and believes he defies authority. Although John Proctor does not truly defy authority in this scene of the play, for he tells the truth and his wife lies, he challenges control in many other instances.

John Proctor exposes hubris through his hate of Reverend Parris. Hubris is placing ones self equal to authority or to God, and it is a necessary trait of the tragic hero. John Proctor proclaims that he does not go to Church, an act the court and townspeople view as a revolt on the supremacy of God, because the Reverend Parris is corrupt. Parris is greedy and cares more about the sake of his reputation that the health of his own daughter. Proctor resents the Church because Parris runs it. In the eyes of officials, this casual negligence of God turns Proctor into an unchristian, sinful rebel. Though Proctor?s reasons for disregarding the Church are quite reasonable, people do not accept them in this time of devils and evil. The tragic hero not only...

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