Grapes of Wrath

Essay by tdownerHigh School, 10th gradeB, November 2014

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John Proctor: Tragic Hero

Jarrod Downer

Emanuel County Institute

American Literature-Honors

Regina Tabor


In Arthur Miller's The Crucible, John Proctor serves as a tragic hero. A tragic hero is

defined by Susan Donovan as "a man of noble stature. He is not an ordinary man, but a man

with outstanding quality and greatness about him. His own destruction is for a greater cause or

principal. A tragic hero usually has a tragic flaw that eventually leads to his downfall" (The

Tragic Hero). The noble John Proctor displays these traits in his role in the classic play, The


Proctor is described by Miller as "a farmer in his middle thirties. . . [who] had a sharp and

biting way with hypocrites" (Miller, 20). As a long time respectful member of the town,

Proctor, has a lot of influence on the citizens of Salem. Proctor is very aware of his place in the

statue of his community.

Because of his pride he is reluctant to go to Ezekiel Cheever and tell

him of the information he heard from Abigail, that the dancing in the woods had nothing to do

with witchcraft. In the beginning, Proctor was too concerned with his reputation to openly admit

his adultery with Abigail. Proctor tries to reassure his wife that the relationship between the two

was ended when Abigail was fired from their home. Elizabeth struggles to give her husband the

benefit of the doubt and Proctor struggles with his own guilt. Proctor's pride keeps him from

coming forward with the truth of his affair until he becomes desperate to save his wife during the


As the play progresses John self destructs in order to prove to his community the importance

of truth. As the trials continue, Proctor gets angry as innocent and...