A crucible has two definitions: 1) a container made of a substance that can resist great heat and 2) a severe test or trial. In The Crucible, John Proctor is representative of both of these definitions because of the situations that he must overcome and the people that he has to deal with. Abigail Williams, the ringleader of the "possessed" children, is the source of Proctor's problems, and it is his challenge to attempt to win the battle against her and the unrelenting town.
John Proctor can be considered to be a very strong man. He is one of the few people in the town that refuses to believe that the children are actually possessed, and he shows no fear of expressing this belief to the courts and to the people of the village. "They"re pretending, Mr. Danforth!" (Miller, 115) At this point, Abby and Susanna Walcott continue saying things such as, "Mary, don"t come down" and "She's stretching her claws!" (115) where after, Proctor immediately responds by declaring that they are lying. Throughout the course of the trial John persistently insists that the girls are liars; however, he cannot convince the court of this truth.
There are many other instances in the play that display John as a very bold man that must withstand a huge amount of pressure. A great example of his bravery is his determination to save his wife, Elizabeth, from being condemned. From the very moment she is taken away from their home, he is completely convinced that he will be able to rescue his wife. "I will bring you home. I will bring you soon I will fall like an ocean on that court! Fear nothing, Elizabeth" (77-78). He honestly believes that he will be able to handle the corruption of the blind court with his fairly weak evidence and arguments.
Another ongoing problem that John must overcome is his passion for Abigail Williams. Toward the beginning of the play, one can see the signs of weakness that John displays whenever he is speaking to Abby.