Arthur Miller's the Crucible Essay

Pages: 2 (620 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports - Women

¶ … Crucible by Arthur Miller

"The Crucible," a play written by American playwright Arthur Miller in the early 1950's, centers on the events which allegedly occurred in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, often referred to as the Salem witchcraft trials. Basically, these trials concerned a group of young girls from the village of Salem who were accused by Puritan elders of practicing witchcraft and of being in communion with the devil. Part of this belief was based on the observations of the Puritan elders who believed that the girls were possessed by spirits and demons, due to the girls exhibiting strange hallucinations and physical seizures. By August of 1692, nineteen individuals had been found guilty of practicing witchcraft and were subsequently hanged or burned at the stake. Not surprisingly, since the time that "The Crucible" was first produced as a stage play, literary critics have expressed a number of opinions about exactly what the title refers to and what types of meanings it may hold.

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For example, the title may be a reference to some type of container made of a substance that can resist great heat, used mostly for melting, fusing or calcining ores or metal. This type of container is often called a crucible and is generally made from either iron or some type of ceramic material, such as clay or earthenware. In Miller's play, we find a reference to this type of vessel in Act I when the Reverend Parris sees the girls dancing around a kettle which contains a "witches' brew" made from parts of frogs. Thus, the Reverend Parris quickly suspects that the girls are witches and that the kettle is some type of mysterious and magical potion.

Also, the title of the play may refer to an earth pot, such as a lamp burning before a cross.

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