The “Crucible” is one of the great works of 20th century American literature, written by the famous playwright Arthur Miller. It’s a powerful and evocative tale of morality, faith, and justice amid the chaotic backdrop of 17th century Salem, Massachusetts.
But why is it called the Crucible? The name of this powerful play has an interesting history that we’ll explore in this article. We’ll look at how Arthur Miller’s personal experience and observations shaped the story he wanted to tell and why he ultimately chose the title “The Crucible.
” Get ready for an absorbing journey into the power of the written word and the vital importance of free expression in the context of a complex political and religious landscape. Let’s dive in and explore why Arthur Miller called his timeless play “The Crucible. ”
What is the Crucible?The Crucible is a 1953 play by the American playwright and author, Arthur Miller. It is based on the Salem witch trials that took place in Massachusetts during the late 17th century.
The play has become a classic of American literature for its powerful and startling dramatized depiction of the oppressive effects of hysteria and intolerance.
Why is the Crucible Called the Crucible?
The Crucible is aptly named after a crucible, which is a vessel that is made of a refractory material and is used to heat substances to high temperatures in order to cause chemical reactions, such as melting and/or reshaping of metals. In the context of the play, the crucible symbolizes the testing of individual morality and lust for power.
The title of the play alludes to the process of purification by fire, which is a key theme in the story. During the Salem witch trials, the accusers were assumed to be telling the truth and the accused were subjected to intense questioning and examination in order to prove their innocence or guilt. It is this notion of purification by fire, through testing and tribulation, that lies at the heart of the play.
Testing and PurificationThe crucible, therefore, stands for the process of testing and purification that each individual experiences in the play. The characters must go through a period of intense tests and trials as they strive to uphold their morality in the face of persecution.
The process of purification however, also serves to reveal the true character of each individual, whether it is good or bad. The title implies that at the end of this process, only the virtuous characters will be purified, while the corrupt characters will be scorched by the heat of the questioning.
Power StrugglesThe Crucible also serves to symbolize the power struggles which take place throughout the play.
The people of Salem are divided into two distinct forces: the accusers and the accused. The power struggle between these two sets of people is encapsulated by the title as each group attempts to gain control of the proceedings and forge its own destiny. The title thus serves to reinforce the fact that each person in the play has to put their faith in the crucible and make a choice as to which side to take.