John Proctor: A True Tragic Hero

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“Oh, Francis, I wish you had some evil in you that you might know me” (1259). This quote by John Proctor provides insight into the thoughts of a major character in the play, The Crucible by Arthur Miller. John Proctor is the tragic hero of the play because of his great qualities, but his few flaws that may have taken him downhill throughout the play. Despite his flaws, John Proctor was a hardworking man with noble qualities, that always stood firmly with what he believed.
At the beginning of the play, Proctor’s character is made very clear by both the narrator and the dialogue he is involved in. When John Proctor enters the play in Act I, the narrator introduces him as a man who “had a sharp and biting way with hypocrites” and “even tempered”(1224). He then says himself, “I have hardly stepped off my farm
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He learns of people around him confessing to witchcraft, and dying for not confessing, such as his friend Giles Corey who is “pressed to death”(1269). The reader is reminded of his good character as well when his wife gives him her last words to him, “John- I never knew such goodness in the world!”(1270) . At this point it almost seems as if he has gone as far as he can go, so he confesses to working with Lucifer, and admitting that, “I want my life”(1270). At this point the reader may think that since John Proctor went away from his true beliefs, that he has completed his role as the tragic hero, ending the story as a man with good qualities who had to give in to the corrupt society. However, Proctor does not end his cycle as a tragic hero right here. Instead of testifying against his fellow people, and saving himself, he does not “[sell] his friends” and “Because it is my name!”(1272). Just like a crucible is used, by definition, to withstand high temperatures, no matter how bad it gets for John Proctor, he stays strong with his characteristics as a hero, but met his inevitable