• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why is Arthur Millers play called The Crucible?

Extracts from this document...


Why is Arthur Miller's play called 'The Crucible'? The definition of a 'crucible' is a melting pot, which under extreme heat and pressure will separate pure and impure, or another equally relevant definition of a crucible is an extreme trial or test. Both of these definitions fulfil the metaphorical purpose of the play. The play is set in the 17th century, in the strictly Puritan society of Salem, Massachusetts. Where young girls try to practise witchcraft and are caught. This slowly spreads to the shifting of blame and the start of the witch-hunts, where in which church officials and court officials (Hale and Danforth) are called into to Salem to investigate the possible witchcraft. This step into mass-hysteria turns even the most Christian of members of Salem to crumble under false accusations, thus causing confessions and elaborate lies spiralling ever deeper to escape the fear of death. The guilty do anything to clear their names, even to the lengths of condemning innocent and well-respected members of the community to hang. This shows the link to McCarthyism in which under the fear of communism, hundred of people in post-WWII America were accused of being communist or communist sympathisers. ...read more.


Elizabeth Proctor in the play is depicted as a good Christian wife who follows all of the Ten Commandments. This is also enforced through John Proctor telling Danforth that Elizabeth would never lie: 'In her life, sir, she have never lie.' But due to the pressures of the trial and her love for her husband she lies to Danforth to protect her husband from his act of lechery, but unbeknown to her, John wants her to confess. The pressure and intensity of this court scene also displays connections to the theme of high temperatures. Also this leads on to the fact of John being a sinner and explores his dilemma through the trials of lechery. He had an affair with Abigail, who was at the time his servant. This sin causes John a great deal of guilt, and regret. He feels guilt for betraying his wife, and anguish as she knows about it and some how does not fully trust him until the witch hunt trials, this is shown in Act Two when they are both in the kitchen: 'He gets up, goes to her, kisses her. She receives it.' In the Puritans society follow the bible is of the utmost importance. ...read more.


John Proctor is an ambiguous character as he is impure in the sense that he sinned in committing adultery, but all throughout the play his character is quite pure, as he defends his wife and friends again false accusations, and in the end dies to prove the point of the court being wrong. So in a way he dies a martyr and 'rises to the top of the crucible'. But there is a sense on irony in this metaphor as in the end of the play; the court and the girls (impure) are the people who are left untouched and unaccused, but the pure characters such as John and Rebecca and the other innocent people who were charged ended up hanged and dead. This suggests that somewhat the impure should rise to the top of the crucible and the pure should sink to the bottom. In conclusion, the definition of a 'crucible' directly shows a metaphorical link to many parts and emotive features of the play. The play was called 'the Crucible' because of the clear relevance to most of the themes and issues that the play explores. The title is very effective due the fact it is provocative and encourages you to reflect on the play, its meaning and also its contemporary truth. Words count: 1269 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Arthur Miller essays

  1. To what extent was Abigail Williams responsible for the Salem witch trials? In ...

    In fact even after finding out that the accusations of witchcraft had been a hoax they were not ready to admit mistake and went on further and executed some more people. "I cannot think they would run off except they fear to keep in Salem anymore.

  2. Critical Essay - Arthur Miller's "The Crucible",

    Act 2 witnesses Abigail and the girls' power and control over the entire Salem community. Abigail has exerted power from her accusations and with this control, she becomes infallible in the eyes of the court: "Is the accuser always holy now?

  1. Is John Proctor a Good Man in Arthur Miller's Crucible?

    This dramatic irony highlights how Proctor is prepared to find any way to please his wife. Although he knows he seasoned it, he knows that his wife will take the statement as a compliment and this shows the amount of care he takes to make her feel happy.

  2. Look at Miller's presentation of Abigail in 'The Crucible'. How realistic is his presentation ...

    This is just one more of the ways that Abigail controls the town and the people in it, as no-one sees through her plan. When Elizabeth is arrested, on false charges, it is on the word of Abigail alone. The people of the court have taken so much evidence from

  1. Compare and Contrast the presentation of a puritan society in Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible' ...

    Colourful clothing was also not allowed, this idea is repeated several times in Witch Child as people were 'all dressed in the dark sober clothes which mark them as Puritans' This suggests puritans valued plainness in religious worship and had a lack of interest in material and artificial things as those were to distract men away from the right path.

  2. In this assignment I am going to investigate the dramatic Intensity of The Crucible's ...

    what was going on in the back of the minds of some people. Some held grudges over stupid pettish things, such as (the narrator tells us) Thomas Putnam's brother was up against Samuel Paris for the job of the minister, the odds were that the Putnam was going to get

  1. The Crucible.

    values of those such as Rebecca Nurse and John Proctor who refuse to compromise their ideologies. The ideology of Puritanism is therefore viewed as weak and corrupt. Furthermore, the witch-hunt is justified throughout the drama as a 'work of G-d', or as part of a religious ideology.

  2. Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible' - Dramatic Tension.

    Miller was accused but refused to name other communists. A few of the events of communism bear an amazing resemblance to what happened in Salem. In the 1950s people feared communism, because they thought it would destroy capitalism and the American way of life. In 1692 people feared witchcraft and the devil.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work