The Common Man in a Millerian Tragedy: A Study of Miller’s Conventions in a Millerian Tragedy

The Common Man in a Millerian Tragedy: A Study of Miller’s Conventions in a Millerian Tragedy

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“I believe that the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were” ( Tragedy and the Common Man). Arthur Miller follows his Millerian conventions of tragedy in the writing of The Crucible. Often literature uses tragedy to display a depressing theme represented by the tragic hero.
Miller uses the conventions of self-recognition and the common man to complete his tragedy in The Crucible. Miller defines recognition to be the “need of man to wholly realize himself is only fixed star” (Tragedy and the Common Man), clearly, miller believes a self-recognition to be the most important convention of a tragedy. The protagonist, John Proctor portrays a tragic hero in The Crucible, where his recognition is the discovery that he still contains goodness in him. Elizabeth, John’s wife, describes how John “[has] his goodness now”(Miller 145). When John believed that he is a man of no value, he quickly chose to live his life by confessing to witchery in Salem Village since this made up lie connected to his worthless personality. But through his wife’s support, John Proctor finally sees the goodness he holds and truly live in the name of by choosing to die an honorable death by following the steps of Giles Corey and not giving the court his name to use on the church door as one of the people who falsely “confessed” to witchery in Salem Village . Through Johns death, he realizes that this would bring him Elizabeth’s mercy and forgiveness for the adultery that he committed with Abigail. Furthermore Miller also connects John’s recognition to the convention of the common man since it is only possible to have a Millerian Tragedy if the tragic hero is a common man. Miller implies that the common man is much more suitable...


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...“confessed [himself]! Is there no good penitence but it be public? God does not need [his] name nailed upon the church! God sees [his] name; God knows how black [his] sins are! It is enough!” (Miller 142). Johns refusal to give up his name represents the catastrophe of the play, as he tears the paper and seals his fate. Proctor was obviously unable to live a normal life know that he has given his name, pride, and reputation to the false accusations of those who are trying to free their souls of all their sins, know that there are those who gave their life away to stand up for what is right. At this final tragic moment, Proctor has at last found peace with himself. Elizabeth is resigned to the fact that she cannot stop him, as "he [has] his goodness now" (Miller 145). John Proctor finally dies as a symbol of pride and dignity for other people in society to follow.


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