The Title of The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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The Crucible – The Title

Arthur Miller cleverly picked the title "The Crucible" for his play about the Salem witch hunts of the 1660's because of the word's many meanings. Throughout the play, Miller has characters face severe tests that make them question their own self. A crucible is also an earthen pot that is used for melting metals. In a way the town of Salem was a crucible as people were brought before the court and blasted with allegations from others as being witches. They were either forced to give in and live a lie or be hanged.

The term crucible could also be used to describe the heat of the situation. Innocent people were caught up in the witch hunt were thrown into an overheated situation that had been blown completely out of proportion. The crucible may also symbolize Hell. As substances in a crucible melt and disintegrate they form a completely different substance. This could symbolize the society of Salem disintegrating and forming into a completely new one. After the situation had been heated what you are left with are the remnants of society that once existed.

By the end of this play, the true meaning of the word crucible was a severe test. John Proctor underwent the most severe test and as a result his character underwent a drastic change throughout the play. The ultimate test that John Proctor undergoes is the final decision that he makes before he dies. The town of Salem was deeply religious and they were willing to believe the word of a deceitful young girl rather than believe in the integrity of people like John Proctor, Reverend Hale, and Rebecca Nurse.

Throughout the play John Proctor was an honest man, as was his wife, Elizabeth until she was asked to testify against her husband about his affair. One thing that never changed about Proctor throughout the whole play was his willingness to stand for his beliefs. Time after time, he was bombarded with questions about why he didn't regularly attend church or why he didn't have one of his sons baptized. He answered these questions with integrity and questioned the ministry of Parris. No one in the town of Salem had done that before.

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