Symbolism In The Crucible

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The Crucible by Arthur Miller is a modern American play that explores the common themes of sin and guilt, self-preservation, and protecting one’s reputation that permeated our society during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The evolution of John Proctor’s character demonstrates how an arrogant, weak man with a guilty conscience evolves into a heroic martyr that dies to protect his family and to stop the hysteria of witchcraft that is destroying the town and the lives of his friends. Even though the novel’s namesake, a crucible, is not explicitly used in the story, the audience experiences the symbolism of the protagonist’s moral test as Proctor evolves from a self-centered, cheating adulterer to a moral and honorable family man who truly wants …show more content…
At the opening of the play, Proctor is attempting to change due to his recent affair with Abigail Williams and his desire to keep his integrity and his marriage intact. He is a righteous man and knows what he should do to set the record straight and not let the hysteria get out of hand; but his own insecurities and selfish motives prevent him from calling out Abigail and exposing her for the manipulative whore that she is. Being a tormented individual with inner demons to battle, his affair damages him in the eyes of God. Abigail seduces him in a time of loneliness and vulnerability during his wife’s illness. Elizabeth can forgive him, but Proctor cannot forgive himself. However when Elizabeth is accused of witchcraft and arrested, Proctor realizes that his prized possession-his good name—is built on a lie and not worth anything without Elizabeth. His courage to change appears in Act III when he calls out Abigail as an adulterer and a liar before the court. The second cause of Proctor’s change is when he faces the gallows in Act IV. He appears to take a step back and is willing to lie once again and confess to witchcraft just to save himself which in turn would persecute the others accused of the same crime. Proctor’s overwhelming transformation comes when he realizes that he does not want to slander himself or his family anymore. Proctor tells Elizabeth “I’d have …show more content…
At the end of The Crucible, he is a changed and different man. Proctor shows motivation, bravery, and courage. As the protagonist of the story, he becomes a heroic figure because he passes the moral test. Being known for an honest man in the community, the court feels that if the town’s people see that an honest man confesses to witchcraft, they will feel that it is all right for them to confess also. Proctor will not let the members of the church and state pressure him into making the false confession and using him as their pawn to crucify more innocent people. By choosing to die for his beliefs, Proctor proves to everyone that he has moral principles that will not let him sacrifice his name or his family. Even though he started out as arrogant and selfish, Proctor takes responsibilities for his actions and transforms into a good person that his family can be proud of after he is gone. In his determination to gain back his strength of character, John Proctor uses his contempt for the corruption of the church, his undying love for his wife, and his need to take responsibility for his actions to admit his sins, to denounce Abigail Williams, and to save his soul during the Salem Witch Trials. Even though Proctor finds himself in this enormous mess, he learns what is right and

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