John Proctor: Hero Of The Crucible


John Proctor, a character in the play written by Arthur Miller, The Crucible could be depicted as the tragic hero. According to the philosopher Aristotle, a tragic hero undergoes a reversal of fortune from happiness to misery caused due to some flaw or error of judgement on his part. This flaw or error when combined with ill-fate or some negative external influence results in tragedy. In this play, John Proctor’s flaw was his lust for Abigail Williams coupled with a series of unfortunate events which ultimately proved to be fatal and led to his tragic death. Abigail’s jealousy and evil intentions brought suffering on his loved ones who were either jailed or executed. However, John Proctor fought bravely for his loved ones and his reputation even in the face of death. Proctor was not born into luxury but he was a common man who displayed remarkable courage, dignity and confessed to all his misdeeds. Despite his flaws, Proctor is able to evoke sympathy from the audience thus qualifying himself to be a tragic hero of this play.

John Proctor works as a farmer and lives a dignified life with his wife and three children in a Puritan town. As the play unfolds, the audience learns that Proctor hides a dark secret, his affair with a young girl named Abigail Williams. Abigail tries to get rid of his wife, Elizabeth through witchcraft with the help of a few girls from the town. However, as the town discovers their intentions, the girls cry foul and name others to escape punishment. John faces his wife’s distrust and the town carries out a series of witch trials fueling hysteria in this otherwise peaceful town.

Lust isn’t John’s only fatal flaw; pride too gets in the way of confessing to adultery. He is faced with a dilemma between choosing his wife and pride when Elisabeth gets arrested. John confesses to adultery to save his wife and preserve his pride. The audience feels sorry for him as he is trying to set things right but there seems to be no end to his misery. John was a good human being who made attempts to correct his faults. John faced death bravely knowing that he would die peacefully as he had put the interests of others before his needs. John proctor is thus the true hero of The Crucible, albeit a tragic one.