Essay, Research Paper: Crucible In Detail

Literature: The Crucible

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A crucible, as defined by the Merriam-Webester Concise Electronic Dictionary, is
“the state or fact of being tested (as by suffering)”, which attests to what
Elizabeth Proctor is going through exactly. Elizabeth has quite a crucible to
struggle through. The infidelity of her husband is a major element in her being.
Her struggle includes staying true to both her husband and her God. Another is
the persecution by Abigail Warren, a former employee and assistant. Elizabeth
also has to suffer through the decision to reveal the unfaithfulness of John or
to remain strong in her love of him. All of this is too much for Elizabeth and
the burden is very heavy. Elizabeth’s husband, John, is a religious man. He
believes in God, but not the minister who preaches His word. John’s actions,
though, are not so religious and devoid of sin. Abby, a young seductress, was
able to gain his attention while Elizabeth was bedridden. A fiery and passionate
affair scared his relationship with his wife. Elizabeth struggles with his
infidelity. When Reverend Hale questions the couple on the commandments, it is
evident that there is still a void between her and John. All commandments could
be recited except for adultery. In the puritan culture, adultery is a grievous
sin, one punishable by death. She has to live through each day knowing that John
was unfaithful, and that he did not fulfill the commitment of marriage. She
feels hurt and betrayed, but what Abby tries next is the most underhanded trick
possible. Abigail was placed in power due to her “ability” to spot the devil
in people. She could see those who trafficked with the devil and who was in his
book. This was an opportunity to settle the score for her. Goody Proctor had
discharged Abby from her home, and now was Abby’s chance to get back at
Elizabeth.. All she needed was an opportunity. Following the idea of spirits
leaving the body of a host, she stabbed herself with a needle, and blamed it on
Elizabeth’s familiar spirit. Elizabeth had to fight the accusations and the
suspicions about her and her bad intentions. She was backed in a corner and
there was nowhere to go. If she confessed to being a witch, she would spend her
days in jail, and her name would be forever tarnished. If she did not confess at
all, she would be hanged for being a witch. It was trying not only on her, but
on her faith. Another factor, though, would impact her emotional problems. In an
attempt to prove that Abby was just condemning people out of vengeance, John
Proctor asked the court to allow Elizabeth to reveal the real reason that Abby
was discharged from their home. His favor was granted, with the understanding
that neither John nor Abby could face or gesture to Elizabeth. She was asked why
she discharged Abby, and then if she believed that there was an affair between
John and Abby. She denied an affair, and in that way condemned John as a liar
and as one trying to overthrow the court. He was arrested and was indicted in
the matter of trafficking with the devil. Throughout the time that the Salem
trials took place, John believed that they were a farce. Now, with Elizabeth
present, he was given a choice. He could sign a confession and indict other
people. He asked Elizabeth if she wanted him to live, and she said yes. He made
the decision to not confess, though, and she had the choice of stopping him. She
could if she wanted to, but she made the decision to let John be at peace with
God. She allowed him to leave without confessing, and he was hanged. The
Crucible was not just about one town experiencing a trial that would forever
change it. It was about individual people experiencing events that would destroy
lives, reputations, and families. Elizabeth was one of those individuals who
would go through the hardest trials and tribulations. She had three crucibles to
bear, each of equal strength. Standing by her husband, who was unfaithful, was
the first in the chain. Being attacked by the girl that caused her husband to be
unfaithful was the second, and deciding to let her husband be at peace or to be
with her was the third. She was faced with three hard decisions that would
change everything that she knew. The Crucible used these characters to amplify
the inner lives of those caught up in a hunt for the unseen, and to show that
there was more than one conflict involved. Elizabeth showed strength through her
trials, and defined the meaning of crucible.
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