Crucible

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2002

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In Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible," John Proctor fills the classic definition of a tragic hero. A tragic heroes failure can come from two sources, external influences or an internal weakness. John Proctor, as a tragic hero, suffers from an internal character flaw of his uncontrollable lust for Abigale Williams. In addition Proctor makes an attempt to reveal crucial information about the Salem witch trials by coercing Mary Warren to testify against Abigale claiming that she is a fraud. He admits to lecherous behavior with Abigale when he says, " God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat," and by calling Abigale a "whore." These two examples show his truthfulness and honesty inspite of the fact that he ruins his good name with the people of Salem. However after this happens he realizes that not even the truth can break the power that Abigale's lies hold over everyone who believes her.

Even though his honest nature one would believe that would help him out backfires when his wife Elizbeth is brought into court. Danforth then asks Elizibeth "is your husband a lecher" and she replies faintly "no sir." Ironicly she lies to save her husband because she doesn't think he confessed, but in reality it actually doomed him because she made it seem as if he was lying when he was really telling the truth. This confession by Proctor only succeeds into leading to his arrest and conviction which is the opposite of what he was hoping to accomplish. When Proctor exclaims "God damns our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together!" this condemns him. Danforth and the court for the first time take him literally instead of figuratively when it should have been taken the other way around. This misunderstanding again shows the tragic nature of the play. In the last act of the play Proctor says that "I will have my life" and by claiming this he must sign a confession of being with the devil and committing to witchcraft. He goes threw some problems with this because he is a good natured person and although he wants to have his life spared he can not go through with it because he values his good name to much and would not let it be "posted upon the church door."