In both George Orwell's 1984 and Arthur Miller's The Crucible, a tragic hero is presented who despite his efforts, and the suffering experienced, in the end cannot overcome the external force against him. The two literary works are tragedies in their own respect, as in both their doom is resisted not passively accepted, however never surmounted. The reader is able to see the human suffering and courage in both texts as they attempt yet fail to overcome their character faults.
In The Crucible, John Proctor is caught in a conflict that pits individual versus society. Proctor is a common and religious farmer in a devout, purist culture that has committed the sin of adultery. This tragic flaw, coupled with his unyielding pride, hinders him from reality and eventually leads him to the socially controlled and manipulated noose of the rope. Proctor conforms to Aristotle's definition of tragedy; his defiance leaving the audience emotionally purged and exalted yet saddened by his failure. Throughout the play, we [as the reader/audience] relate to him and understand his plight. We are able to see no flaw in him that would justify his death. Proctor's reasons for disregarding the church are quite reasonable, but the citizens of Salem do not accept them, especially in this time of suspicion and supposed devil-loose phase. Proctor admits to his grave sin in hopes of saving his wife and cleansing his soul, regarded by the audience as noble. It however backfires, and he ends regrettably perceived as a liar and is sentenced to death. The opportunity of saving himself by confessing to a lie is negated as Proctor chooses death over the loss of pride and his quest for truth, honour, and justice that he tragically receives with his fatality. " for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs" [Miller, 144]. Throughout the novel, the audience's dislike for authority steadily increases and climaxes with Proctor's death sentence.