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Crucible means test, trial, ordeal, formation by fire, and a vessel baked to resist...

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lolilybrb | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 11, 2013 at 2:10 AM via web

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Crucible means test, trial, ordeal, formation by fire, and a vessel baked to resist heat. How is "crucible" related John Proctor, Elizabeth Proctor, Rebecca Nurse, Reverend  Hale, and Giles Corey in The Crucible?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 11, 2013 at 6:41 AM (Answer #1)

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John Proctor is a character who faces great testing and trial through the action in this play. He has to choose to acknowledge that he is an adulterer, and that he slet with Abigail, in order to bring a successful case against her to the court. Then, when even after being open about such damaging truth, he then faces jail for the supposed crime of being in league with the devil. Finally, he has to choose whether to admit to these spurious and illusory crimes or to die a truthful man. Note how the biggest test he faces comes in the final act, when he signs his name to the deposition admitting his crimes and then refuses to give it back to Danforth, and eventually tears it up. His justification for his decision to refuse to allow others to see his name shows the testing and refining that he is undergoing as a character:

Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!

Proctor's decision to eventually rip up this document and to keep his "name" pure and untarnished shows considerable strength of character, as this decision is one that results in his death by hanging. He is a character who therefore has been profoundly tested and challenged by events, but who in the end demonstrates that commitment to truth and morality is greater than expedience, and by making this decision, he is able to gain a measure of wholeness in his life.


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