Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible' is clearly a representation of the true meaning of
tragedy. John Proctor was, in fact, the medium, the tool, of which Miller utilized to
convey a universal depiction of tragedy. A broad definition of a tragic hero is a
protagonist who, through faults and flaws of his own and in the society in which he
exists, falters in the grand scheme of things. This mistake leads to suffering, which
ultimately leads to a self-realization. Miller, himself, has said, 'Tragedy, then, is the
consequence of a man's total compulsion to evaluate himself justly,' leading us to
believe that a greater theme encompasses this downfall. Miller, as well as many other
literary critics seem to convey that tragedy revolves around two universal aspects: fear
and freedom. 'The Crucible' is a direct parallel to the multiple ideals of tragedy and thus
centers around John Proctor's fear and freedom while he exists as a tragic hero.
The first stage in the process of establishing the tragic hero for Miller was
relaying the characteristics of John Proctor. It was essential that Proctor be viewed as the
so called 'good guy' in the plot, one who stands out or the audience can relate to. He is
described as a 'farmer in his middle thirties' with a ' powerful body' and a 'steady
manner', and is already being established as the protagonist in which we sympathize
with.(p.19) Miller's choice to describe him in such a fashion is very significant. By
describing the tragic hero as a 'strong, steady, farmer' the dramatic effect is even greater.
Who else better to fall victim to his own personal freedom and the fear of others but the
strong, stern character? John Proctor's description also provides another outlet to convey
the dynamic nature of his...