The dictionary defines the word crucible as 殿 container for purifying metals or 殿 crucial testshowing character. The Salem Witch Trials are represented through this play, The Crucible, in which people could freely accuse any person of being associated with Witchcraft, and have that person exiled, or even executed. It was intended to weed out all the evil in Salem, to purify their little town in Massachusetts. Their system was manipulated, however, by the jealous and the vengeful, to get rid of those they did not care for. Both definitions are appropriate for this play, because while the trials were supposed to purify the town, they ended up being true tests of the citizenscharacter.
The title is appropriate because it foreshadows the crucible their society becomes. Under the heat and the pressure around them, the characters are broken down to their true selves. At first, the trials were only to be used for good, for the honest means of living in a wholesome christian community, to filter out the bad. The citizens were living in such fear stemming from the girls dancing in the woods, and they isolated themselves from the outside world. They stayed close together in their paranoid, irrational, fearful town, a tight little container packed full of violent reactions. A literal crucible purifies metals by heating them and adding immense pressure. It elementally pushes the contents to the brink, and either destroys them completely, or takes them into a purified state. This is exactly what happens in Salem, a figurative crucible. The pressure from their society destroys many characters in this play, forcing them to become liars, or extremely selfish, throwing others into the fire to save themselves. Or, if the characters are purified, like Rebecca Nurse and John Proctor, they will not buckle and break under the intensity, but they will be hung from the highest noose. The word crucible comes from the latin word, crucibulum, which derives from the word...
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