The Crucible : The Potential Of Change

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Joie Lim Johnston English 11H, Period 7 8 October 2015 The Crucible: The Potential of Change Introduction: In The Crucible, Arthur Miller recreates the anxiety and hysteria of the Salem witch-trials from 1692. Although the title, not once is the word “crucible” spoken in the play. However, the people and events of the Salem witch trials correspond with the definition of a “crucible”. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “crucible” three ways: “A pot in which metals or other substances are heated to a very high temperature or melted”, “a difficult test or challenge”, and “a place or situation that forces people to change or make difficult decisions” (“Crucible”). The definitions metaphorically and literally align with different aspects of the play: Abigail Williams and Thomas Putnam’s acrimonity, the testing of John Proctor and Thomas Danforth’s virtues, and the change in religious outlook after Salem. Because of the crucible’s broad meaning, the title perfectly encapsulates the effects of paranoia on a rigid and volatile environment. The Witch trials can metaphorically represents a pot heating up metals to a high temperature. The pot can be seen as Salem filled to the brim with naive Puritans who were being heated to hysteria by paranoia, jealousy, and greed. Emotional instability shook Salem when news of girls falling lifeless and inanimate after being caught dancing in the forest--a taboo amongst Puritans during the colonial era. Amongst the dancers was Abigail
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