Free Essays on The Crucible: A True Tragic Hero?

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A True Tragic Hero? According to Webster’s New Standard Dictionary of the English Language, the definition of a hero is “a man of distinguished bravery; a principal figure in a story”. (127) A tragic hero is a hero of a tragedy, more specifically a person who either dies in the story or is defeated in a struggle with evil. The hero’s downfall is usually brought upon his or herself by an error in judgment or a tragic flaw. A hero is overcome by evil, but in the course of the struggle, the hero gains self-knowledge and wisdom. The question to be answered in this essay is whether John Proctor of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is truly a tragic hero, or not. Because of his error in judgment, the fact that he is overcome by evil, and his courageous downfall, John Procter proves to be a true tragic hero. (Elements 612,1182) It is thought by many that the errors in judgment made by John Procter are the main reasons behind the Salem Witch Trials. First, and perhaps the most important event of the play, is John’s sin of adultery. In fit of passion John strayed from his sick wife and found himself in the barn with Abigail Williams, his teenage house servant. His wife, Elizabeth, learned of his infidelity and forgave him, but he never forgave himself. In addition, Abigail was in love with John and believed that he had feelings for her also, but John was happy with his wife. Abigail, also known as Abby, and some of her friends went to the forest to conjure the Devil, and then drank a charm to kill Elizabeth. That was how the whole thing got started. Abby thought that if his wife was dead and out of the picture, John would come running with open arms. Abby knew of only one way to kill Elizabeth and that was through the devil and attempted witchcraft. However, it is ironic that in the end Elizabeth lives and John is the one to die. Furthermore, John knew that the girls had been dancing in the forest, and Abby told him that it was all “sport”, that it was all fun and games. John knew that Abby had been up to no good but he didn’t try to stop the girls from lying about the many people they claimed to “see with the devil”. He allowed to them go on accusing innocent people when he knew that they were lying.

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