In Arthur Miller's play The Crucible, the plot tells a story of cold-blooded revenge, unlawful accusations made on fearful, innocent, law-abiding citizens, and the heavy price paid by strong-willed individuals to tell the people of Salem, MA, the truth. This being, according to the court made by the priests of Salem and the Massachusetts provincial court, silence is a greater crime than any other committed. Within this plot lies a central figure, a hero fighting for the good of the town, and unfortunately being victim to these plot points: John Proctor. In the course of the play, Proctor's characterization reveals that he bears the traits of a tragic hero: he is a good person, whose name becomes, unfortunately, flawed by past mistakes that have yet to be unearthed. He wishes to atone for his past sins, and when he gets past the obstacles of his pride and reveals his horrible truth - in an effort to save his wife from death - he comes to meet his unfortunate fate. With it breathing down his neck, he approaches death with courage - a type that garners the admiration of the audience. Proctor therefore functions as a tragic hero, due to his antecedental actions, his development during the play, and the unfortunate repercussions of his mistakes.
Proctor's portrayal is that of a good, strong-willed man, with horrible secrets and character flaws that foreshadow his demise. In Act I, Miller's expositions reveal several facts about the character, John Proctor, particularly of his strong will and the respect and fear his name gains from the people of Salem "mainly due to his "sharp and biting way with hypocrites."" This shows, in several ways, that Proctor has a strong character "stalwart in personality and unwavering in his beliefs, and quick to correct the uninformed. The latter may be a fault, in fact, as Miller also illustrates in the same exposition, " a Proctor is therefore marked for calumny.