“The Crucible” by Arthur Miller is a play set during thte hysteria of the Salem witch trials of 1692. The word “crucible” is defined as “a severe test” or “a container for melting or purifying metals.” The title of this play is incredibly appropriate because the charactersin the play were faced with a great test while attempting to purify their community. WHen faced with a conflict, the citizens of Salem begin to act on basic animal instincts, and their true colors shine through.
The word “crucible” is appropriate because the intention of the court was to purge the town of Salem of any evil beings, but the court only created a way for wrong-doers to go unpunished and those who stayed true to their values be killed. The additional definition of “crucible” is appropriate because the characters in the play were faced with a choice of doing what was morally and ethically correct or doing what was wrong.
For example, John Proctor is tested several times throughout the play. “Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life…I have given you my sould; leave me my name” (Miller, 1166). The audience is able to see Proctor’s true character through this quote. Although he is sentenced to be hanged, he refuses to soil his name or jeopardize his morals, not even in exchange for his life.
Mary Warren represents the bulk of the citizens of Salem because she was driven by fear. “I cannot, they’ll turn on me” (Miller, 1129). When Mary Warren trys to to undo her wrongs, she becomes frightened to stand on her own and risk being accused of witchcraft. Many of the citizens of Salem that were accused of witchcraft sacrificed their morals and their values in order to keep their lives.
When the citizens of Salem become scared, they lose their ability to think logically. Many of them lie to save themselves or lie to gain something. The choas brought out each characters true personality.