A tragic hero is someone who is a noble or humble character who has a tragic flaw in which causes their downfall. In Arthur Miller’s story, The Crucible, a small town called Salem becomes immersed in a terrible crisis due to accusations of witchcraft. Later in the story a humble and moral farmer named John Proctor is one of the accused out of many. John meets the definition of a tragic hero because of his fatal mistakes, such the affair with a girl named Abigail and as well as his pride. Redemption due to his actions at the end of the play saves his name and morals. As mentioned one of his flaws is having an affair with Abigail.
The affair with Abigail is his downfall, with it provoking the trials obviously. She refusing that their affair is over tries to get John’s wife, Elizabeth Proctor killed by performing witchcraft with other girls in the town. Reverend Parris finds them the night they do this and soon the town begins to shun the girls, to prevent this they start to call out other’s names they apparently saw them with Satan in order to save their reputation and even their own lives. The affair also caused Elizabeth to lose her trust in John, also for many months he has been trying to get into her good grace and has grown tiresome of her suspicion. He says to her Elizabeth “…I have not moved from here without I think to please you….I can not speak but I am doubted, every moment judged from lies….”(54). This shows John’s determination for trying to redeeming his name from his sins. But John cannot resist his temptations or control his desires, his life is being destroyed by the need of revenged on Abigail and his jealousy, this being the main cause of his downfall and the path to becoming a tragic hero.
When John Proctor’s major flaw was his pride, Honor and his good name is what kept him from confessing to adultery. Which would have undeniably halted all of the hysteria of the trials. Elizabeth asked him to go to the court and tell them that abigail is a fraud, but he wouldn’t. John said to her, “I know I cannot keep it. I say I will think on it!” (53). Later in the play when Elizabeth got arrested, John had to choose between his own pride or his wife. He attempts to fix this by bringing Mary Warren to court to confess the lies. Which fails when she turns on him and he has to admit he is an adulterer, reserving his dignity in order to save his beloved . Then soon following backfires and getting him arrested as well.
Much later the court gives him an option where he can plead guilty and live or be hanged with others who refuse to confess. John talks with his wife about this and he chooses that he wants to live and surrender to a confession. After signing the confession letter he learns that Danforth was going to put it up on the church door, causing john to tear up and change his mind. He would rather die for a good cause, then taint his names as well as the names of the other prisoners. Elizabeth doesn’t stop him realizing the goodness in John. Proctor preserves his pride and dignity, dying as a man with flaws yet being a good man, becoming the tragic hero in “The Crucible”. His flaws destroy him but at the end he preserves his pride and dies a good man. Miller uses John Proctor to show how someone can overcome their mistakes in life in life and safeguard one’s dignity.