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How doesThe Cruciblepresent characters with severe tests?  I need an thesis statement...

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shad14 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 24, 2013 at 2:58 AM via web

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How doesThe Cruciblepresent characters with severe tests? 

I need an thesis statement for this essay topic on The Crucible.   (A crucible is defined as a severe test. Write an essay discussing the signifincance of the title. What are the crucibles within the play, and how does it bring about change or reveals a person's true character?)

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 3, 2013 at 3:50 PM (Answer #1)

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One character stands as the prime example of being put to a test of character and of will in this play - John Proctor. Other characters tested are Hale, Elizabeth, and Mary Warren. 

Proctor presents the best example in terms of dialogue that directly pertains to the notion of being tested. There are several moments in the play where he speaks to his challenges, beginning with his discussion with Elizabeth in the second act. There, Proctor attempts to remain patient in his penitence but fails as he sees little or no softening on the part of his wife. 

Proctor's test early on is to demonstrate his fealty to Elizabeth. To carry on this task, he eventually is force to go to court to defend her against the false accusations made by Abigail. At his point he faces a test of character. Can he give up his pride and admit to his affair with Abigail, in public, in order to save his wife?

Proctor succeeds in this test, though he fails in his effort to save Elizabeth. His failure, however, is due to the moral failure of Mary Warren to succeed in her own test of character. She cannot overcome Abigail to tell the truth to the court. She succumbs once again to a role of accessory to the fraud.

Hale, during the court scene, faces a test as well. He finally sees that he has been wrong about the trials and that witchcraft is not afoot in Salem. Though he passes his test of character by admitting to the truth, he is unable to summon enough strength of will or courage to persuade the court.

Later, Proctor faces a final test of will as he is asked to sign a false confession. He manages to reconstitute enough pride and integrity to again see himself as a person of moral value. He refuses to sign a document that would condemn his friends and neighbors.  

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