One day in November of 2009 a young girl was killed in a hit and run by a negligent driver. Her name was Courtney Snipes; she was only 11 years old. Courtney’s family suffered from tragedy much like the characters in Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible.
These characters lost dozens of their neighbors all because of one group of girl’s ability to lie. Through Aristotle’s definition of what a tragedy in literature is; The Crucible can be easily defined as being a one with its tragic hero being portrayed through John Proctor, the feeling of catharsis, and the seriousness of the overall play.John Proctor is a perfect example of a tragic hero. John comes from a high position in society, has a tragic flaw, goes through reversal of fortune, and has an epiphany. John comes from a high position in society because of his reputation is of being an honest man. John’s wife, Elizabeth, had even said, “John-I never knew such goodness in the world! ” This easily shows that John is a good man (Miller 137). As well as that, John definitely has a tragic flaw, which are his lustful feelings for Abigail.These feelings turn in an affair and it’s causing a lot of strain on his marriage.
John had even said, “You will not judge me more Elizabeth. ” John says this because Elizabeth has been very cold towards him (54). When John tries to help out his wife he goes through a reversal of fortune. He does this by showing the court a testament that people signed to say his wife is a good person. However, Rev. Parris says, “These people should be summoned.
For questioning. ” Because he believes the signers of the testament are corrupting the court (93).John has now gotten his wife, friends into danger and has lost his fortunate life style. Once John is being taken to jail he has an epiphany and says, “I hear the boot of Lucifer, I see his filthy face! And it is my face, and yours, Danforth! …God damns our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together! ” (119). John says this because at this point there’s nothing he can do to save everyone.
Its obvious for the reader to see that John Proctor is, indeed, a tragic hero ecause he comes from a high position in society, has a tragic flaw, has a reversal of fortune, and finally an epiphany. There’s definitely a feeling of catharsis at the end of The Crucible. When John, Martha, and Rebecca died for what they believe in its not fair because they’re paying for everything Danforth, Parris, and Abigail are doing. Due to this injustice the reader feels pity for the characters of Danforth, Parris, and Abigail because they just couldn’t get past something, whether it was the law, their reputation, or love.
Danforth had even said “Hang them high over the town! Who weeps for these, weeps for corruption! ” (144). Even after dozens of people died Danforth still doesn’t realize what he is doing to this town. Also the reader feels fear after reading this because it’s hard to imagine that the Salem witch trails had actually occurred. To think that there was once a time where you couldn’t trust anyone and to save yourself was by either confessing to something that wasn’t true or blaming someone else. Overall, the ending of The Crucible provoked the feelings of catharsis.Since The Crucible is about the witch trails in Salem, that isn’t exactly a topic taken lightly, especially since so many people died during this whole ordeal. What makes the play so serious was the pain and anger the character had gone through and the ends they face. For example John Proctor didn’t want his name to be tarnished by the injustice of the witch trails.
John had even said “Because its my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! ” (143). This quote clearly shows John’s anger about loosing his name to something so unjust as the witch trails.What also makes the play so serious is what happens to the character, especially their bitter ends, for example Giles Corey was pressed to death because he wouldn’t reveal an informant.
Through the tragic hero characteristics that John Proctor has shown, the feeling of the catharsis at the end of the play, and the overall seriousness of the play proves that The Crucible is most definitely a tragedy. It’s hard to believe a tragedy so intense and so lucrative like this has happened in literature and in the world, and hopefully society has learned its lesson, however history has been said to repeat itself.