Analysis of the Title of The Crucible

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The Crucible by Arthur Miller is a play written in response to the “communist scares” in America in the 1950’s. Miller chose “The Crucible” as the title because the definitions of the words match the play perfectly. A crucible is a container that can withstand high temperatures, often used to melt, and change the shape of metals. The town of Salem can be compared to the container that melts metals. The witchcraft trials can be compared to the severe tests or trials. Also, the severe tests or trials can be compared to how people are fighting themselves, and making moral decisions. (Dictionary).

One of Miller’s reasons for titling his play “The Crucible” was that the container for melting metals was a good representation of the town of Salem. A crucible is used in metal craft because you can change the properties, shapes and atomic structure, of the metal. They become easier to work with when heated or melted together. The town of Salem is the crucible, and the people are the crucible substances. The idea of witchcraft is the heat or flames. A lot of people throughout the play change dramatically, such as John Proctor. At the beginning of the play, Proctor was stubborn and selfish. This can be seen when he is yelling at his assistant Mary Warren, “Be you foolish, Mary Warren? Be you deaf? I forbid you to leave the house, did I not? Why shall I pay you? I am looking for you more often than my cows.” (Miller 176). At the end of the play, he didn’t show these qualities. He was willing to die with the others that were accused, over confessing to something he never did. He tells Danforth that he won’t confess, “Danforth: Do you sport with me? You will sign you name or it is no confession, Mister! Proctor: Praise be to the...

... middle of paper ... him politically. Anyone who was accused of communism lost their jobs, family and friends, and were sometimes jailed. This was very similar to accusing someone of witchcraft. (Wikipedia).

“The Salem Witch Trials” could have been another title. This title is very simple and is directly about the play. This title doesn’t use symbolism, like “The Crucible”, but is still very effective. Since the play was about the witch trials, this title would have been a perfect choice.

Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible in response to the “Communist Scare” in the United States during the 1950’s. He chose this title for many different reasons, mostly on the definition of “crucible”. The title is both mysterious and exact at the same time, making it very effective. Many people are attracted to this book just by its title. There is no title that could have been better for this play.

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