The Crucible

Hubris vs. Heroism : An Analysis of John Proctor’s shortcomings as Miller’s Tragic Hero 11th Grade

The famous philosopher Aristotle formally defined the parameters of the tragic hero in his work On Poetics (335 B.C.). Aristotle based his tragic hero model on Oedipus, a king from Greek mythology. He defined the tragic hero as a man of noble birth who has a fatal flaw, or hamartia, which leads to his downfall and describes his tragic nature. The character is considered a hero after they rise from their fall and experience a moment of enlightenment and redemption known as an anagnorisis. In Arthur Miller’s tragic play, The Crucible, the protagonist, John Proctor, is considered the tragic hero. Proctor is a very secular man in Puritan Salem, yet is still highly respected among the people. His obsession with maintaining his reputable name is one of the manifestations of his fatal flaw, his hubris. John Proctor’s hubris is responsible for both his tragic downfall and his redemption, which detracts from Miller’s characterization of him as the tragic hero because he fails to experience an anagnorisis.

Proctor’s affair exemplifies his egotistical tendency to put himself above the rules he expects others to follow, which prompts him to make the decisions that lead to his fall. The catalyst of his downfall, Proctor claims to be...

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