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The title of Author Miller s play the Crucible fits the story in many ways. There are
many definitions for a crucible but mainly two of them fit the story most. The first
definition of a crucible is a melting pot that chemist and alchemists used to mix metals,
but in order to melt the metals down they had to heat the metals up to a certain point for
them to turn to liquids. So in fact a crucible is a container that can withstand high
temperatures. In this way the characters of the play have to withstand a lot of heat but
like all metals they find their boiling point and just give up. This is evident in the play
when John Proctor, the story s main character, becomes so enthralled with the trial
and all the pressure that he signs his own death warrant just to get it over with. The
second definition of a crucible is a great test or trial, and as one might know the story
unfolds itself to be a great trial of good versus evil. The title serves as a point of
departure for the reader and gives the reader a edge into the story even before you
start to read the play itself.
In a metaphorical way, Miller uses the title The Crucible to potray many
points. For example, The Crucible actually intended to be a satire of the
anti-Soviet feeling that ran rampant throughout the country. The plays intention
was to potray and poke holes into the feeling of the day, and the whole McCarthy
trials going on back then. The play connected to that whole era because it showed
how the hysteria of a people leads to its downfall and how the only thing we have
to fear is our selves. For his work on this play and his affirmation of once being a
member of the Communist party, Miller was put on a Black List . Like the Salem
witch trials, many lives were ruined by the McCarthy trials. So Miller portrays
himself to be John Proctor, a hard working, respectable, honest man whose life is
destroyed by the trials. Connecting this all to the title, one can find that Miller was
going through a Crucible of his own and this whole incident influenced his
Spiritually, the play s title The Crucible could have a reference to hell if one
connects that a crucible is really hot and that hell is perceived to be really hot. One
can tell that the presence of hell is found throughout the story. To find the
references to hell one has to connect the whole idea that everything that lives in
hell is evil, and everything found in the village at the ending of the story is evil. The
presence of Satan is found throughout the story. John Proctor even notices it by
saying A fire is burning, I hear the boot of Lucifer. Like a crucible the town is
starting to be destroyed by evil found within itself. The heat and presence of
Satan and all his creations. As well as this point, the word crucible is taken from
the Latin word crucibulum. The root word of crucibulum is crux. This is important
for many reason. First, the word crux has ties to crucifixion. In the story John
Procter was crucified for his belief and doing what he though would be honest.
He was crucified because he didn t die of old age or cancer, but for believing in
what he thought was right. That is what cruxifaction is. The second importance of
this is that most of the people who were convicted of witchcraft were crucified at
the stake. They were burned to death. The church was trying to prove its holyness
by crucifixion but led to a leading theme of irony found throughout the play.
The purpose of a crucible is to melt things down by using very intense
pressure and heat. This is illustrated in the play when 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 type characters to realize they have signed away the lives of many
innocent people simply because of a little lie. Also, the severe intensity and
pressure of the court scenes also connected to the them of heating things up. The
situation in the court is of immense proportions. One can get the hint that the
judges are upset because of the way they address the congregation and defendants.
The judge s hostility is sensed when he forces Mary Warren to lie in order to live,
but instead is killed because she lied. The harshness of the judge is intense as he
forgets about human feelings and just focuses on killing innocent people because of
some weak threat.
In short, adaptable given title crucible is related to the play in many ways.
Miller directly, historically, and metaphorically ties it down and connects it all to the title.
In fact the crucible has a another meaning not yet mentioned. Since a crucible melts down
metals, I realized that a homophone (or word that has a different meaning but sounds the
same) for the word metal is mettle. What mettle is is your spirit, strength, or courage. This
might be pure coincidence but yet has a real tie to the story because the many themes
found throughout the play are the characters enduring courage and strength to overcome
the hardships at which they faced. So, the title has many relationships to the themes found
throughout the play and in my opinion was appropriately titled.
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