Kintzer 12/15/16The CrucibleA similar aspect found among many novels is a protagonist carrying a tragic flaw. In Arthur Miller’s play, “The Crucible”, John Proctor, a character known in Salem for being a moral, kindhearted leader, carries around two main tragic flaws that ended up deciding his destiny. The two flaws that ultimately led John Proctor to his doom almost contradict each other; guilt and pride.
Throughout the story, John Proctor’s guilt for the sin he committed with.Abigail is evident. Despite Proctor’s early attempts at putting his sin behind him and reconstruct his relationship with his wife, his sin becomes a bigger part of his life with every passing day.
Not only does this sin prolong in his life, but in his wife’s life too. A prime example of one of Proctor’s major flaws determining his destiny and his beloved ones’ destiny is when Abigail claimed that Elizabeth, Proctor’s spouse, conjured with the devil and attempted to bewitch her. Due to Proctor’s error throwing his wife in jail, his guilt remained stronger than ever.” My wife will never die for me! I will bring your guts into your mouth but that goodness will not die for me!” This quote demonstrates John Proctor violently announcing that he will never let his beloved Elizabeth die due to his faults. A second tragic flaw that Proctor carries is pride. This tragic flaw is conclusively the real flaw that led him to his doom.
John Proctor, a leader in the Salem community with an honorable reputation, indirectly ended his own life for the sake of his name and status. “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” Despite nearly conceding into the ways of the corrupt Salem clergy, Proctor’s pride got the best of him and realized he would rather be a dead man than be one of the men that fulfilled the clergy’s goal and give them that satisfaction. Another example in The Crucible where we see Proctor fight for his name is his affair with Abigail. Although he felt remorse for the situation with Abigail, he did not want to admit that he made a mistake due to his unwavering pride and the fact that this error could potentially destroy his reputation.
Despite his attempts at forgetting his error, it ended up being the source of his death. A common feature found among many tragic heroes is their transformation throughout the story. John Proctor is evidently passive in the beginning of the story, doing anything not to get involved with the church.
John’s indifference towards the church is displayed in Act II when Elizabeth urges him to approach the court and tell Ezekial Cheever what he and Abigail discussed outside her uncle’s house. Instead of agreeing to her request, John allows himself more time by simply saying, “I’ll think on it”. Another example demonstrating Proctor’s disinterest is Proctor doing everything in his power to eradicate the situation with Abigail. Proctor palpably doesn’t want to remember his affair with Abigail, rather just wants to forget his fault and rebuild his now damaged relationship with his wife.
Despite Proctor’s early attempts at putting the past behind him and not getting involved with the church, he ends up confessing his past to the church, using it desperately to save his wife. This illustrates Proctor growth as a character and that the once passive, strong headed John Proctor, desperately confessed to his shameful sin in order to save his wife and his own heart from the guilt.