Essay on john proctor being a tragic hero

In 1991, I faced the new challenge of writing about a modern policeman. Peter Diamond, in The Last Detective , took to the bookstands and had a gratifying reception, winning the Anthony Award for best mystery of the year in America. Diamond has gone on to eight other books and a clutch of awards on both sides of the Ocean. More recently Henrietta “Hen” Mallin has been featured, first in a cameo role in The House Sitter , and then centre stage in The Circle . She stars in the next book, due for publication in the spring of 2008.

John Proctor's attitude and perspective change drastically throughout the play The Crucible . At the beginning of the play, Proctor is curious about the rumors of witchcraft in Salem, but refuses to participate in the hysteria. When he meets alone with Abigail, their affair is revealed, and she tells him that the girls were simply messing around in the woods. In Act Two, John's cold relationship with his wife is portrayed, and Proctor becomes angry after speaking with Mary Warren about the court. When Elizabeth is taken away, John vows to return to Salem to save his wife's life. Proctor is now directly involved in the witch trials and argues on behalf of his wife. Proctor even displays his love for his wife by tarnishing his good name after he admits that he had an affair with Abigail. Unfortunately, Proctor is arrested and also put on trial for witchcraft after Elizabeth lies to court officials in order to protect her husband's reputation. While in prison, Proctor initially decides to save his life by giving a false confession. However, Proctor has a change of heart and courageously rips his confession papers, which will likely incite the citizens of Salem to riot against the court once he is hanged. Proctor goes from being a non-involved citizen, with a heavy conscience, to a redeemed, noble man at the center of the conflict. John Proctor begins the play as a broken sinner but atones for his sins by refusing to capitulate to the corrupt court.  

I was fortunate enough to have lived on the 2 mile final to 31R @ JFK from 1966 – 1979. I was just a kid who couldn’t keep his eyes out of the sky. I’d drive my bike down to Rockaway Blvd near the numbers for 22L and sit there for hours. I became so addicted to airplanes that I was able to ID them by sound. I remember seeing almost every airplane in this fabulous montage. Needless to say, in 1977 I soloed at age 16…got my Private at 17…and have flown and owned many different types of aircraft ever since. Had it not been for the fact that I grew up near JFK and catching the flying bug early…I doubt I’d be a pilot today. I chose to run my family business instead of flying for the airlines…but flying is flying. Anyway,these fantastic photos bring back amazing memories of those happy old days of yesteryear. Boy do I miss them!Great job!!!

John Proctor is a passive protagonist; for the first two acts, he does little to affect the main action of the play. (Read more on this in our "Character Roles" section.) By the time Act III rolls around, however, he's all fired up. Spurred by his wife's arrest, he marches off to stop the spiraling insanity of the witch trials—and hopefully regain his own integrity in the process.



Proctor goes to court armed with three main weapons. There's Abigail's admission to him that there was no witchcraft. Also, he has Mary Warren's testimony that she and the other girls have been faking everything. Last (but not least) he's prepared to admit that he and Abigail had an affair. This would stain her now saintly reputation and discredit her in the eyes of the court. Between the wily machinations of Abigail and the bullheadedness of the court, all of these tactics fail. John only ends up publicly staining his good name and getting himself condemned for witchcraft.

Even though John doesn't achieve his goals of freeing Elizabeth and stopping the overall madness, he does take two significant steps toward regaining self-respect in Act III. One: he doesn't stop fighting the false accusations even after he finds out that Elizabeth is pregnant and therefore safe for a while. He feels a greater duty to his community and proceeds anyway. Two: by openly admitting his adulterous lechery, he is no longer a hypocrite. He has publicly embraced his sin.

In Act IV, Proctor conquers the final hurdle on his path to redemption. This is no easy task; he stumbles a bit along the way. In order to save his life, he is tempted into admitting that he is indeed in league with the Devil. He justifies this lie to himself by saying that he's a bad person anyway, so what's the difference? At least this way, he'll be alive:

Essay on john proctor being a tragic hero

essay on john proctor being a tragic hero

John Proctor is a passive protagonist; for the first two acts, he does little to affect the main action of the play. (Read more on this in our "Character Roles" section.) By the time Act III rolls around, however, he's all fired up. Spurred by his wife's arrest, he marches off to stop the spiraling insanity of the witch trials—and hopefully regain his own integrity in the process.



Proctor goes to court armed with three main weapons. There's Abigail's admission to him that there was no witchcraft. Also, he has Mary Warren's testimony that she and the other girls have been faking everything. Last (but not least) he's prepared to admit that he and Abigail had an affair. This would stain her now saintly reputation and discredit her in the eyes of the court. Between the wily machinations of Abigail and the bullheadedness of the court, all of these tactics fail. John only ends up publicly staining his good name and getting himself condemned for witchcraft.

Even though John doesn't achieve his goals of freeing Elizabeth and stopping the overall madness, he does take two significant steps toward regaining self-respect in Act III. One: he doesn't stop fighting the false accusations even after he finds out that Elizabeth is pregnant and therefore safe for a while. He feels a greater duty to his community and proceeds anyway. Two: by openly admitting his adulterous lechery, he is no longer a hypocrite. He has publicly embraced his sin.

In Act IV, Proctor conquers the final hurdle on his path to redemption. This is no easy task; he stumbles a bit along the way. In order to save his life, he is tempted into admitting that he is indeed in league with the Devil. He justifies this lie to himself by saying that he's a bad person anyway, so what's the difference? At least this way, he'll be alive:

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