A Tragic Hero at Its Finest:
Arthur Dimmesdale and John Proctor
The definition of a tragic hero is generally known as a character in a work of literature who possesses a tragic flaw which eventually leads to his demise. Both Arthur Dimmesdale, from Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, and John Proctor, from Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, could be described as the perfect tragic hero by this definition.
A tragic hero always has supreme noble authority or control. Both Proctor and Dimmesdale acquire this quality from the start to finish of both stories. Dimmesdale is first shown as a young preacher who slowly rises to become supreme in his church. This is shown from the beginning of the novel when Hester Prynne, carrying her newly born baby, is punished for committing adultery and has to stand on the town scaffold for the whole day. During this act of shame, the governor asked Dimmesdale to try and convince Hester to tell all who her accomplice, in adultery, was, which shows the reader Dimmesdale’s true superiority in the town. On the contrary, people in Salem (setting of The Crucible), according to the narrator, felt that “In Proctor’s presence a fool felt his foolishness instantly- and a Proctor is always parked for calumny therefore. […] Proctor, respected and even feared in Salem, has come to regard himself as a flaw” (175-176). Proctor’s authority is also shown when he walks into Reverend Paris’ house as they are talking about witchcraft that broke out in the town, showing that his being included was important.
A tragic flaw is otherwise known as wrongdoing or sin done by a tragic hero. Both Proctor and Dimmesdale share this quality in their respected novels. Proctor’s affair with Abigail Williams is the leading cause of the havoc in Salem, and her vengeance and greed for wanting Proctor all for herself ultimately leads to his demise. Proctor faces a tremendous amount of trouble in his affair with Abigail because he must conscientiously...