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The Crucible

            A crucible is a test of the most decisive kind or a trial. Some tests in life may not be as evident to the eye as others; some tests may try your patience, liability, or morality. In The Crucible, several of the characters, particularly Proctor, experience explicit trials on their principles. Arthur Miller accurately entitled his drama The Crucible since it deals with a series of trials/tests that, specifically, focus on the concept of integrity. .
             When the play opens, a test has already occurred. Early in the drama, the reader learns that John Proctor has previously damaged his integrity by committing lechery with the young Abigail Williams. When his morals were tested by temptation, he failed and committed adultery. Miller indicates that Proctor felt guilt when he described John as a "[sinner] against his own vision of decent conduct." By this, it is evident that John Proctor holds himself to high standards. He not only disappointed his wife, but also himself. Elizabeth says to him in Act two, scene one, "The magistrate sits in your heart that judges you." This specifies the internal test that John Proctor will try to overcome throughout the drama. He must prove to himself that his integrity is strong and that he is an honorable man. .
             Proctor attempts to redeem the trust of his wife and his own reliability. At first he attempts to put off Abigail as if nothing significant was ever between them. In Act One, Scene four, Abby asks him to give her "a soft word," Proctor replies with denial, "No, No, Abby. That's done with." Proctor also tries to please his wife and be kind to her to win back her respect and affection. John says, "I have not moved from there to there without I think to please you, and still and everlasting funeral marches round your heart." These attempts, obviously ineffective, discourage John and increase his motivation for recovery. John Proctor's opportunity for salvation arises when Abigail accuses many truthful women of witchcraft, including his own wife, Elizabeth.

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