, Research Paper
A crucible is a severe test, as of patience or belief; a trial. Another definition of the word crucible is a place, time, or situation characterized by the confluence of powerful intellectual, social, economic, or political forces. The title signifies the suffering and hardship that the town goes through. The town the story takes place in is governed by a theocracy. A quote from the book says For good purposes, even high purposes, the people of Salem developed a theocracy, a combine of state and religious power whose function was to keep the community together, and to prevent any kind of disunity that might open it to destruction by material or ideological enemies. Everything that happened in the book, all the events that led up to the execution of many innocent lives and led up to the breaking apart of the theocracy that the town was used to,
contribute to make a difficult time or situation, which is a crucible. The title itself explains that the story is about a complicated time that will test the place the book is based on. The story takes place in Salem, Massachusetts in the year 1692. It starts after a couple of girls have been caught dancing in the woods by Reverend Samuel Parris, the town s minister. Two of the girls are related to him. Abigail is his niece and Betty is his daughter. When Betty gets sick, rumors start to spread that there is witchcraft involved in her illness because they were out in the woods all by themselves. Salem is a very tightly sheltered town that is pretty much run by the church, which is against the devil and all forms of the devil such as witches , and it is also against enjoyable acts such as dancing. Not only that but in the book the town is described as the following, They had no novelists–and would not have permitted anyone to read a novel if one were handy. Their creed forbade anything resembling a theater or vain enjoyment. They did not celebrate Christmas, and a holiday from work meant only that they must concentrate even more upon prayer. The town was very strict when it came to following the church. This is why when the girls were caught dancing in the woods, they lied to protect themselves and their reputation by saying that the devil took them over and influenced them to dance. The girls also say that they saw several other members of the town standing along side of the devil. Abigail says, I want to open myself! I want the light of God, I want the sweet love of Jesus! I danced for the Devil; I saw him; I wrote in his book; I go back to Jesus; I kiss His hand. I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil! Soon after, Betty says, I saw George Jacobs with the Devil! I saw Goody Howe with the Devil! What they said was not true. They just said it so that the town wouldn t find out that what they were really doing in the woods was making a spell to kill John Proctor s wife, Elizabeth, because Abigail was in love with John Proctor and she wanted to be with him. Almost every person that was accused by the girls of being a witch died. It took the taking of all these innocent lives for the people to realize that the theocracy they believed in did not work because it was based on excluding all those who were different than them. This separation from others made them incapable to get used to dealing with an alarming situation. What the crucible taught them was that if they had been open to other societies thoughts and beliefs then they might have been able to handle the situation better.