A crucible is ‘a container in which metals are heated to extract the pure element from dross or impurities. ‘ When Arthur Miller first started to write The Crucible in was during the Mc Carthy era which was when the house Un-American Activities Committee was existence and had the power to ‘investigate any movement or person who apparently threatened the safety of the state’. Witnesses were brought to the committee to answer charges of that they were communist sympathizers and name those who had also been at the meetings that were held of criticizing the government and their instructions and admission of adherence to communism.
Two centuries before prior to the Mc Carthy era witchcraft trials had been taken place in the town of Salem and linked that the committee public confessions as parallel with the naming of names in Salem. Miller was part of the Mc Carthy era and had been summoned to the committee but had refused to give names of other that were involved in the meeting of communist writers ten years before.
He was already interested in witchcraft trials and decided that he needed to write about that period with his own personal experience included in the character John Proctor as well as the real events.
During the course of the play you see that the definition of a crucible has relevance to the plot of the play but in a metaphorical way. During the course of the play purity and cleansing is seen but not as metals being extracted from impurities but through certain characters and society that they live in.
Abigail Williams is a scheming young child who has a lot of power within herself her community and the girls who are also involved in the witchcraft.
She knows the trouble she causes and will sacrifice anyone to gain her own advantage or save her own skin. After having an affair with her employer John proctor and then being thrown out of out of the house when the affair was discovered she stills has strong physical desires for him and doesn’t feel no remorse and we could be lead to believe that she would like to take his wife’s Elizabeth’s place and insults him and his wife when he doesn’t want nothing to do with her.
“Oh, I marvel how such a strong young man may let a sickly wife be. ” She even “drank an charm to kill John Proctor’s wife! ” During the trial she knows that she was sending people to their death but little did it matter to her, she enjoyed the power that she had. She fooled the court by her convincing acts of that she was in a genuine trance and that had and effect on the judge.