John Proctor the Tragic Protagonist

Category: Protagonist, Witchcraft
Last Updated: 12 Dec 2022
Pages: 3 Views: 598
In The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, the protagonist John Proctor is caught in the middle of the Salem witchcraft trials in 1692. The accusers are a bunch of young girls led by Abigail, who wishes to be with john proctor by having his wife hanged at the gallows. John Proctor attempts to bring an end to the lies and corruption spawned by Abigail and her group of followers.Trough these attempts to bring justice to the court of Salem, his efforts to save his his wife Elizabeth Proctor from being hanged for witchcraft, and through his perseverance to protect the honor of his name by not falsely admitting to witchcraft, John Proctor establishes himself as The Crucibles’ Tragic hero. John Proctor realizes the girls making accusations of witchcraft in Salem are lying and pretending. Proctor first learns of Mary Warren, his servant, who making false accusation in the court.John proctor realizes Mary Warren and Abigail, the women John proctor had an affair with, are conspiring to have Elizabeth hanged for witchcraft. Proctor realizes this when Mary Warren makes a poppet for Elizabeth that mimics a voodoo doll and lands Elizabeth an arrest for witchcraft. This when John Proctor decides to go to court to expose the truth. In court while trying to accuse the girls of lying, Mary Warren puts on act to make the court think John is bewitching her, and he ends up being accused himself.

This is a tragic quality of The Crucible because John Proctor in the act of trying to save his wife’s life and expose the truth gets himself convicted of the very same crime. Proctor’s wife, Elizabeth Proctor, is accused of witchcraft by Abigail, who claims she used a voodoo doll on her. Mary Warren had constructed the doll in court and John Proctor knows this and wishes to save his wife’s life. He argues with Mary Warren and forces her to testify to the court that the girls were all lying. Mary Warren ends up testifying and then turning on Proctor accusing him of witchcraft.

Proctor denies his charge of witchcraft and even shames himself by admitting to the court having had committed lechery with Abigail. The Court brings out Elizabeth to confirm John Proctor’s confession of lechery. Thinking to protect her husband she denies it to the court. This is tragic because in trying save Elizabeth John himself becomes accused and in Elizabeth’s will to save her husbands image she only further convinces the Judge to arrest John Proctor. When John Proctor is accused of witchcraft, he denies all charges and his thrown in jail. He his marked to be hung.

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On the day of his hanging he is persuaded by Elizabeth and his own conscience to confess in order to save his life. He confesses to the judge and his confession is copied onto a confession statement to be posted on the church. John Proctor does not want his confession posted on the church because he wants his name to retain its honor, especially since he has a family and children. He is told unless his confession is posted on the church it wont be accepted. John Proctor in a moment of self righteousness decides to uphold his honor and denies the charge of witchcraft and allows himself to be hanged in the gallows.

Tragedy strikes here because a good person dies while evil prevails. These events show that John Proctor is a tragic hero. He is an honest man and when he realizes the seriousness of girls’ lies he acts to bring truth to the court. He tries to protect his wife from certain death and instead receives the same fate she does. Finally Proctor tries to salvage his name out of the wreckage of the witchcraft trials but cannot do so without dying. These are all examples of why John Proctor is truly The Crucible’s tragic hero.

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John Proctor the Tragic Protagonist. (2017, Mar 24). Retrieved from

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