Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible, is a tragedy. Its main character, John Proctor is the tragic hero. John Proctor's stature, his quality of being neither completely good nor completely evil, his humanity and his strength merge to reveal him as a tragic hero. .
John Proctor is a middle-aged farmer living is Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, during the time of the Salem Witch trials. He is well respected, renowned, and even feared in his community. The book's narrator initially describes Proctor as " the kind of man- powerful in body, even-tempered, and not easily led."(20). When in the presence of Proctor, it is said, "a fool felt his foolishness instantly"(20). This ability is portrayed when Proctor talks with Mary Warren, his servant, "'Be you foolish, Mary Warren? Be you deaf? I forbid you leave the house, did I not? Why shall I pay you? I am looking for you more often than my cows!'"(21). Proctor is a man of stature and displays a steady manner. Therefore, early in the play, John Proctor is presented as renowned and respected, traits of a tragic hero.
Revealed in Act I, Proctor commits adultery with Abigail Williams, a serious transgression for which he has immense remorse. Realizing that what he has done is wrong, Proctor wants nothing to do with Abigail, "'No, no Abby. That's done with.You'll put that out of your mind. I'll not be comin' for you no more'"(23). Elizabeth Proctor, Proctor's wife, knows about this affair. She is reluctant to believe John when he discusses his interactions with Abigail, "'Why, then, it is not as you told me.then let you not earn it [suspicion]'"(54). Proctor attempts to right his error by being appeasing and determines to state the truth with his wife, "'Spare me.I have gone tiptoe in this house all seven month since she [Abigail] is gone.I have not moved. I think to please you.let you look for the goodness in me'"(55). Proctor's sin of adultery and his subsequent remorse unmask this tragic hero as neither completely good nor completely evil.