Literary Analysis: the Crucible, by Arthur Miller

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he title "The Crucible" defines the incident in Salem Town as a melting pot of chaos and turmoil as the entire town is turned topsy-turvy by a few young girls. The crucible, a porcelain or graphite vessel used for melting materials at high temperatures, also describes a place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development. In The Crucible, the title manifests itself in the context and background of the story, the chain reaction triggered by the young girls, and the clash between different factions of the society that ultimately serve to ruin innocent adults convicted of "witchcraft" and debunk the court's authority. A crucible is generally composed of porcelain or graphite, a structure that proves effective in melting other substances. The structure or backdrop that any event occurs in is imperative to comprehend and analyze the causes and effects of the events. The play takes place in a society strictly governed by theocracy; the Puritans' greatest fear is defiance of God. Anything that does not please God is against Him, acting as compliances with the Devil. This abhorrence of the secular depravity of turning away from God, or in this instance, negotiating with and participating in immoral activities that God would frown upon, facilitates the validity of the accusations against several townspeople. The very idea of witchcraft is reprobated, as Reverend Parris reiterates, "Thomas, Thomas, I pray you, leap not to witchcraft. I know thatyou least of all, Thomas, would ever wish so disastrous a charge laid upon me. We cannot leap to witchcraft. They will howl me out of Salem for such corruption in my house." (14) When the court becomes involved, the judges, reproving the practice of witchcraft in any form, are more prone to believing the girls' accounts of the torture each condemned person had inflicted upon them by the

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