In Act Three, Mary Warren tells Deputy Governor Danforth that Abigail and the other girls are lying. Danforth then looks at John Proctor and says to him, "We burn a hot fire here; it melts down all concealment" (Miller, 81). Danforth's statement is significant because it foreshadows Proctor's confession of his infidelity while simultaneously alluding to Hell and depicting the imagery of a crucible.
The "hot fire" symbolically represents the ominous, tense atmosphere of Salem, which is similar to Hell. The heat and melting imagery also correlate with the title of the play. A crucible is literally a container where metals and other substances can be melted at high temperatures. A crucible is also the perfect metaphor for the violent hysteria that overwhelms the community of Salem. As previously stated, the melting of "all concealment" foreshadows Proctor's subsequent confession of his infidelity. When Proctor admits that he had an affair with Abigail Williams, he reveals his secret and ruins his reputation. Danforth's statement rings true on several metaphorical levels.