Arthur Miller's title for 'The Crucible' could be argued to be derived from from the
name of a small piece of chemistry equipment used to melt and combine substances, a place or situation in which different elements interact to produce something new, but especially a place or occasion of severe test or trial. The play is seen as a metaphor for the Salem community which was made up of many different, conflicting events. The events which transpire cause and allow many of the characters in this enclosed space to change. Miller wrote 'The Crucible' in the 1950s with numerous allegorical connections between the Witch trials of Salem and communist trials in America. In the United States during this time there was an irrational fear of communism. This caused many figures in the government to become blacklisted, or fired from their jobs although many did not even belong to the communist party. Paralleled to Salem, citizens feared of witchcraft but it was not only their reputations that got damaged in real life, but many lives were lost without a just cause.
Although Salem is shown as potentially creating evil for evil, in the end it also
shows potential for causing good. Arthur Miller creates many characters who seem to be flawed in one way or another but they are able to change. For example, Giles Corey is characterized as being just a bit naïve (despite his age) but shows great strength of mind and of character towards the closing of the play. Even when he is in the face of death with stones crushing his chest, he calls out "More weight!" rather than to harm his innocent friends. Reverend Hale comes into Salem acting arrogant, "like a bridegroom to his beloved, bearing gifts of high religion." He is quite cocky of his knowledge of witchcraft and "the very crowns of holy law" which he brings that he is too quick to accept the girls' confessions to try and prove his own skills. Like Giles, He is able to change for the better. He begs Elizabeth Proctor to "plead with [John]" and to "be his helper" in these trying times. However it becomes too late and he feels guilty for having caused the hangings of innocent people. John Proctor's only guilt comes from his crime of adultery, but he later regrets his sin and is prepared to die for his belief in honesty, putting others before himself, and also his own personal reputation. Although Giles Corey, Rev. Hale and John Proctor are all considered to be good men, they are unable to save the members of this society who are innocent.
Many of the flawed characters of 'The Crucible' however change for the worse,
or they do not even change at all. A society including potentially evil characters like these, is more likely than not to cause some sort tragedy. Abigail Williams is one such character who does not change in the face of adversity, but stays ruthless, cunning, and manipulative throughout the play. She is not only willing to let innocent people hang to get what she wants, but is arguably the cause. For...