Who Is John Proctor A Tragic Hero

Superior Essays
Former UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden once said “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” In Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, John Proctor is a quiet character at first. As the plot unfolds, Proctor becomes a tragic hero in the eyes of the reader and struggles internally as well as externally with his character and notoriety. On the surface, he is a respected man in Salem, Massachusetts who is honest and speaks his mind. At that time he had everything a Puritan man could have ever wanted: a wife who treated him well, three sons, a farm to work and profit from, and most importantly, a desirable reputation. …show more content…
He is one of the characters to blame for the initiation of the Witch Trials because he accused others of doing the devil’s work, particularly Abigail, to protect his own name. It is evident that he is trying to prove his power. To save his own reputation, Proctor is willing to trash the character of others. By doing so, he further tarnishes his own prestige. In Act IV, when Proctor is called upon to sign the confession of demonology to be nailed to the church door, he does not sign it because he believes he is too good to stoop to that low level. He cares more about his personal name and reputation than he does about his life. Goody Proctor supports his self-centeredness. In Act IV, she and Mr. Hale are discussing the need for Proctor to confess. Hale tells her “Quail not before God’s judgment in this, for it may well be God damns a liar less then he that throws his life away for pride.” Goody Proctor replies “I think that be the devil’s argument.” (Miller 1159) She is proud of his name, therefore makes him even haughtier and making her a benefactor and motivator of his biggest flaw. Essentially, Proctor believes he is a blameless and respectable man in society to the point of being a proud and haughty individual. Therefore, he thinks everyone else is worth nothing and so he can demolish their reputation in order to sustain his superior social …show more content…
He was ultimately hung because of his refusal to commit to practicing sorcery. Ironically, he found it completely okay at one point to cheat on his wife and miss church, yet abominated the idea of telling a lie to keep his life. If he would have opted to keep his life instead of dying in the midst of such corrupt circumstances, he would have had time to turn his life around and begin living like a true Puritan man should. He could have shown his sons, as well as the rest of the town, that he was a genuinely good and respectable man. Most importantly, he could have begun to back up his pride with his actions. In the end, John Proctor cared more about his reputation than he did about his character. This is an evil trait because God is indifferent about one’s reputation; he instead examines the character of a man. Proctor’s fatal flaws carried him down a scornful path of

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