In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, John Proctor is an Aristotelian character. He is a character with a tragic flaw and is also a tragic hero. A tragic hero has many distinctive characteristics such as nobility and hubris. A tragic hero also has a fatal flaw, experiences tragic things, falls and is destroyed, and at the end of a play there is catharsis. John Proctor had a mixture of good and bad characteristics. His bad characteristics included having an affair with a girl named Abigail who used to work for him. However, some yet argue if he was an Aristotelian character or not.
At the time of the Salem witchcraft trials in 1692, Proctors sins were serious. Proctor could be hanged if anybody found out that he had broken the commandment Thou shalt not commit adultery; These people had no ritual for the washing away of sins. Also many people do not believe in Christianity and choose not have their children baptized. Although Proctor has many bad characteristics, he also has good characteristics. Proctor truly regrets the affair and when Abigail approached him again he told her I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before Ill ever reach for you again. This statement was meant to convince Abigail that he did not want to be with her, but doing so he also admitted that he still had feelings for her, which gave Abigail hope that they could still together. There is evidence of this when she said You loved me John Proctor, and whatever sin it is you love me yet! Despite all this, he refused to let Abigail ruin his marriage to Elizabeth, although she no longer trusted him. Proctor was trying to prove his innocents and tells Elizabeth like a Christian, I confessed.
Proctor wished to please his wife and there is proof of this when Proctor asked, Ill buy George Jacobs heifer. How would that please you? Although proctor was not noble by birth, he certainly has noble characteristics, and he has well respected by many of the characters. In Proctors presence a fool felt his foolishness instantly. Proctor also respected other people and their privacy, and did not wish to blacken anybody elses name when he was about to confess to carrying out the work of the devil. Proctor would only ever speak of his own sins and argued that he cannot judge another.
His nobility also played a vital role in his downfall. Proctors hubris caused the problem in the first place and this led to his tragic flaw. Proctor believed that he was untouchable; he believed that he could have an affair, but as long as he apologized afterwards, everything would be all right again. But as the play unfolded he soon found out that his life with Elizabeth and life in the village would never be the same again. Proctors affair drove Abigail to plot to get Proctors wife Elizabeth out of the picture, so that she could take her place. But she was intelligent enough to realize that if she excused the wife of a well-respected man of the village of conspiring with the devil, no one would believe he and she would be thrown in jail for lying to the court. For she has broken the commandment Thou shalt not bear false witness and this was as serious a sin as murder. Because of this Abigail decided that if she filled the jails with people not so respected such as tramps no one would notice one more person passing through the courts. Abigail did all this because Proctor had slept with her. This caused her to believe that he made a promise to her by doing so; she believed that if Proctor did not have Elizabeth he would then love her instead. Because Proctor slept with Abigail he did not just cause his own downfall, but also the downfall of others. One thing Abigail did not think would happen and ruined her conspiracy was for Proctor to stand up in court, blacken his name in the village, risk being hanged, and expose her as a harlot she was. Proctors proof of this was his statement of I have known her. By doing this he ruined his reputation in the village, but Proctor realizes that his reputation was caused by the illusions people had of him and that he was a really a fake. This was one of the noblest things he done during the play when he tired to save others by destroying himself and was one of the turning points in the play. This also meant that Abigails intention of having Proctor all to her had failed for he would be locked up and maybe hung for his crimes. The second part of events Proctor experience occurs when Elizabeth is brought before the court to confirm that Abigail is a harlot and that her husband has indeed know her. The irony of this turning point is that turning point Proctor is trying to protect Elizabeth by revealing Abigail to be a liar and a harlot. Proctor tells the court that In her life, sir, she have never liedmy wife cannot lie so that Elizabeth could confirm that he was telling the truth. The irony of this was and the turning point was that for the first time in her life Elizabeth went against her principles by lying to the court in the belief that she was protecting her husband.
Moreover, when Proctor experiences a horrible event was near the end of the play, when Proctor decides to sign his confession and then he rips it up. He realizes that the other people are going to hang for their silence and for not swaying from the truth. He realizes that he can make up for all his sins for doing the right thing in the end. Not confessing to conspiring with the devil would show that he is still a noble character and he would be respected for it. He also realizes that if his confession is nailed upon the door of the church, the others will have forfeited their lives for nothing. He realizes that if he confesses he is not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! There are many people involved in Proctor downfall. Abigail is the main person involved for it is her who accusing everybody of witchcraft, Hale for example was the first person to question the Proctors about whether or not they have been conspiring with the devil, Hale however also tried to persuade Proctor to sign the confession at the end of the play for he started to respect and admire Proctor. Parris also played apart in Proctors downfall, for there is evidence during the scene in the courthouse that suggests that Parris would not listen to Proctors testimony and give him a fair hearing for it could ruin the reputation of his family if the village got to know that his nice was a whore. Danforth played a major part in the downfalls of all he people hung for he tried and sentenced with Judge Hathorne the people who were to hang. Danforth also was present when Proctor was to sign his confession and was the person who sent everyone who had not confessed to his or her deaths, Danforth says, Hang them high over the town! Who weeps for these weeps for corruption? During this scene is when Proctor finally falls and is destroyed. Proctor finally realizes that if he lies he would be just as bad as Abigail and he would not only lose the respect of his wife, but also any respect the village has left for him. Proctor also realized that if he hanged, people would once again be safe from the accusations of Abigail for her goal (Proctor) would no longer reachable or even possible for he would be dead. Abigail would no longer have the need to fill the jails with people, who she had accused of witchcraft, and would be revealed, for what she was.
At the end of the play there is catharsis in the audience. The audience has grown to pity Proctor for his main downfall was caused by a human flow of having feeling for people other than his wife. The audience also fell sorry for Proctor for he tried to do the right thing by owning up and trying to make it up to Elizabeth. This was made for Proctor for Elizabeth no longer trusted him after his affair. There is evidence of this when Elizabeth says, Why then, it is not as you told me Elizabeth felt betrayed by Proctor. But like a Christian woman however she would not judge her husband for she believes that The magistrate sits in your heart is what judges you. However, due to his tragic flaw and death as a hero, John Proctor is an Aristotelian character.