Symbolism And Symbolism In Arthur Miller's Play The Crucible

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Arthur Miller experienced a crucible when choosing how to juxtapose history during the Salem Witch Trials and Communist Red Scare. Like an excellent physician would diagnose his patient after research, Miller dug beneath the surface to find the causes that would affect the title of his play. But, the title needed to have multiple meanings to display the causes. Arthur Miller entitled his play The Crucible because he wanted to reflect the situation that forced The Crucible characters, Americans during McCarthy’s reign, and Miller alone to make or change difficult decisions (“Crucible” ). Whether in Massachusetts in 1692, the United States in 1950, or the author himself, the title of The Crucible embraced “the heat of the moment” which …show more content…
He used the symbolism of a cross because each character had to crucify an abstract possession. Parallel, Miller uses the tangible definition of the crucible, a pot in which substances are melted (“Crucible”), for each character 's intangible sacrifice. These internal “substances” had to melt in the crucible of their heart because of the heat faced. John Proctor nails his morality to the cross in order to resurrect his honesty and personal righteousness in the two trials he overcame: confessing the affair between Abigail and him and denying the expected lie of witchcraft. Proctor, “Rather than sanctify his name on the altar of duplicity, he becomes a martyr for truth, and in doing so he preserves the sanctity of individual freedom” (Sundstrand 1268). Not only did this tragic hero sacrifice the lies he had been hiding, but he sacrificed himself, an ironic allusion comparing Proctor to Jesus. Proctor knew which morally correct action to take, even though he encountered Danforth, a blind mob of persecuting liars, and even death, just as Jesus faced Pontius Pilate, condemning Romans, and the crux. Once again, Danforth and Pilate melted their knowledge about the innocent victims in order to keep the peace in the crucible of their towns. “Danforth quite directly warns Proctor, ‘it …show more content…
Both the people of Salem and the American 1950s endured a crucible because of their fear of future circumstances. “In both the witch trials and the committee hearings, people were summoned before an unchallengeable authority, interrogated, intimidated, and frequently coerced into the betrayal of others in order to escape from being persecuted themselves” (Sundstrand 1267). Whether in Massachusetts in the 1690s or the Red Scare Era, the crucible was the choice to allow paranoia, hysteria, and fanaticism to authorize action. McCarthy and his supporters as well as the Crucible theocracy definitely made those fearful thoughts active. “McCarthy’s power to stir fears of creeping Communism was not entirely based on illusion, of course; the paranoid, real or pretended, always secretes its pearl around a grain of fact” (Miller, Why). Everyone was fearful of something, whether it was fear of being condemned, convicting others, identity, God and His wrath, being seen with those subjected to punishment… In fact, it was quite natural “to turn away in fear of being identified with the condemned” (Miller). Miller’s point being: making difficult decisions in fear’s presence was a crucible; illustrated when Reverend Parris fears losing his reputation, a comparison to McCarthy. “Fear doesn’t travel well; just as it can warp judgment,” as it warped

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