Essay about The Death of a Tragic Hero in The Crucible

Essay about The Death of a Tragic Hero in The Crucible

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The development of McCarthyism in the 1950s due to the increased fears of communism led to the imprudent accusations of disloyalty and treason to the United States. The Salem witch trials during 1692 were hearings and false accusations based on the views of McCarthyism. Arthur Miller’s knowledge of these events in history greatly influenced his writing of the Crucible. He included the imprudent accusations that were being greatly used by Joseph McCarthy and gave these traits to a group of girls in Salem. These girls created something in their town that was extremely similar to the Second Red Scare, a result from increased communist accusations, that lead to several deaths of innocent men and women. Among those who knew the truth about the accusations in Salem was John Proctor, a farmer who lived just outside of Salem. The author incorporates the idea of McCarthyism in Salem to have relation to history as well as give reason for such corruption. The panic induced by the Salem witch trials, reminiscent of that caused by McCarthyism in the red scare, forces John Proctor to reevaluate his beliefs. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, John Proctor’s characteristics and morals create an internal conflict between his honesty and his religious affiliation that leads to a moral dilemma between the preservation of his name and his confession to witchcraft, which eventually leads to his physical and metaphorical death as a character.
John Proctor’s devotion to his religion gives him a choice between to do whats right or to save his life by succumbing to the pressure to confess falsely. Many problems arise, including his alleged affair with Abigail Williams. John is on his way back home when Abigail stops him in the woods and tries to seduce him....


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...o the church for everyone to see. When Danforth requires that Proctor give an explanation for not wanting to hand over the document he cries out, “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies!...How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” (1333). Proctor continues to ponder his decision of admitting himself to witchcraft which would free him from hanging. This reflects his aspiration not to dishonor his peers who have died for crimes they did not commit. Proctor would not be able to live with himself knowing that others died while he lied to save his own life. Proctor wants to keep his reputation as an honest man in the town of Salem, ultimately proving his obsession with his name being pure. His decision to honor the deceased and die an honest man overcame his ability to lie.

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