John Proctor as a Tragic Hero

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When someone's journey comes to an end, it is a tragedy. Many people want to carry a story with them after they have passed. Most people want to leave something memorable behind, people want to be seen as a good person, perhaps a hero. According to Aristotle, “A man doesn’t become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall”. In ‘The Crucible’, written by Arthur Miller, John Proctor is seen as a tragic hero. While the audience is reading this story, you start to understand why he was considered a hero.

To begin with, everyone makes mistakes, even heroes do. Mistakes are what make a person better because they learn from them. While reading ‘The Crucible’, the readers soon come to the conclusion of a big mistake John made. Although he had a wife named Elizabeth, he had an affair with a servant girl named Abigail. Proctor knows he was in the wrong. Although he made a mistake, that does not mean he is a bad person. He just made a bad choice. John knows he made a mistake when he says “Abby we never touched” (The Crucible, Act 1). He did not want anyone to find out because he knows what he did was something unforgivable. To John, the affair was something he had done once but something he would never do again, but to Abby, it was commitment. Abigail was jealous of Elizabeth, and accused her of witchcraft.

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Next, John Proctor wasn’t a man super high up on the social status, he was a normal man that people respected, a common man. He was a man who was a leader and was seen as a trustworthy person: “Proctor was a farmer in his middle thirties” (The Crucible, 20). He was well respected throughout the community of Salem and had good morals. The irreversible mistakes he had continued to make made his reputation go down. Since the town of Salem was so small, reputations were a big thing, and news got spread around quickly. Proctor tried to hide the adultery that he had done because he knew it was wrong. How could he blame people for the things they have done when he had a terrible secret himself?

John Proctor is a wise and upright man. Once the trials begin, Proctor comes to the conclusion that he can’t stop the things that Abigail will start to say about them. If she starts to talk about what had happen it would ruin his reputation. As the trials continue, he tries to make an attempt through Mary Warren’s testimony to say that Abby is a fraud. When he fails to do so, he bursts out of anger that Abigail is a ‘whore’. He proclaimed this publicly, and is now too late to take back what he has said. Proctor finally confesses which leads to his arrest and conviction as a witch. He evens signs a written confession. At the end of the play, he is more worried about his personal morals than his public reputation. He still wants to be seen as a good person because of personal things and religion, not because of what he wants the people of Salem to believe or think.


In conclusion, John Proctor was a tragic hero. Throughout the story you can see that in several different ways. He had a good heart with good morals. Some people would consider him as selfish for caring about his reputation, but honestly, who wouldn’t care about their own? Towards the end, readers can easily point out that he cares more about his relationship with the Lord rather than with the people from Salem. Even though he made a mistake that cost him his life, he still was a true believer in God and his mortality was everything to him.

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Is John Proctor a Tragic Hero Essay?

Yes, John Proctor is considered a tragic hero. He is a complex character in Arthur Miller’s play, “The Crucible,” who is an upright and honest man who faces difficult decisions and ultimately sacrifices his life for his beliefs. Proctor is the protagonist of the play, and his struggle to maintain his integrity in the face of his inner turmoil and public humiliation makes him a tragic hero.

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John Proctor as a Tragic Hero. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from
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