The Crucible Essay
The word crucible means a severe test or a vessel of a very refractory material (as porcelain) used for melting and claiming a substance that requires a high degree of heat. It also means a place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development If you combine these three definitions, you come up with a container where under high heat (or in Miller's case...the stress of being accused of witchcraft (or communism under McCarthy)), there comes a severe test (the trials), where forces interact (the girl's false accusations and the people's fear about doing the right thing), to influence change (the hangings and murders of innocent citizens due to false accusations).
The reason why Miller chose this title for the play is because Miller is trying (among other things) to look at the ways in which people respond to stressful times. The word "crucible" implies heat and stress and change. Miller uses this title because he is interested in the way in which people's characters change when exposed to the sorts of "heat" and stress that we see in the play. For example, in the scene where Betty tells Abby that she did not mention to the others of the town she drank blood, she stressed and worried and was saying things that were severe and harsh to the other girls(threaten). She was under lots of pressure and was over-whelmed by the talk of witchcraft and being caught which meant that her name would not be “white” anymore.
The Putnam’s test is whether they will take advantage of the chaos and courtroom proceedings to further their own agendas regardless of the truth. They failed. The Court's test is whether it is able to manage justice. It failed. Reverend Parris's test is one of goodness, and he certainly fails. In fact, the entire play is one of the great failures in American history. A few people in the story pass the test (Proctor, Elizabeth, Martha and Giles Corey, Reverend Hale, and Rebecca Nurse),...
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