Why Is The Crucible So Called Essay

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How is 'The Crucible' appropriately titled?

The word 'crucible' is used by Arthur Miller in his play as a metaphor. The first definition of the word crucible is: a melting pot especially for metals. In the play this is first acknowledged during the first act, as we gradually piece together the information concerning the girls dancing. The 'kettle' viewed by Reverend Parris mirrors a crucible. We are told that the girls had made a brew which contained a little frog and blood is therefore viewed by the characters involved as a potent, fearsome mixture and this signifies the beginning of the Salem tragedy. It seems that from this 'brew' a more sinister force is released. The dancing and the contents of the little pot seem to fuel the
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The Salem community was rife with latent hostilities and the witch trials provided an outlet for the expression of those hostilities in a society which had little opportunity for speaking out. The society was so confined and ordered so when people had a small chance to experience freedom they went to far to the other extreme and suspicions and envy burst into revenge. Individual disputes were considered immoral because they meant 'breaking charity' with's one neighbours. There was much unexpressed, unexpiated guilt in the community. For example Abigail had a grudge against Elizabeth Proctor because Elizabeth fired her after she discovered that Abigail was having an affair with her husband, John Proctor. Abigail used the witchcraft craze to accuse Elizabeth and have her sent to jail.

The purpose of a crucible is to melt things in and for this you need very high temperatures. This is illustrated in the play, when the judge Danforth says to Proctor in Act Three 'We burn a hot fire here; it melts down all concealment'. The court scenes were times of tension, intensity, pressure and conflicts between powerful authority refusing to realise they have signed away innocent lives on the strength of a lie. Also things are permanently and physically changed in a crucible, they are turned from one thing into another. This is reflected in the play by the fact that many things in the play are exerted
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