Symbolism in "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller

Essay Topic:

The depth of the symbolism of Arthur Millers The Crucible.

Essay Questions:

What do the witch trials represent in terms of the religion?

How did the inability of the court to make correct judgments influence the characters of the story?

What social group remained the most unprotected one back in the Americas 1950s?

Thesis Statement:

The symbolism of the witch trials in Arthur Millers The Crucible is related to the court system back in the 1950s.


Introduction: As any other deeply impressing story, “The Crucible” has a strong touch of symbolism throughout the story it presents. The author of the play has chosen one unique symbol he reveals in his story. This symbol is unique as it deals with the witch trials and the importance they had for the society of the America’s 1950’s.

The symbol of the witch trials is a symbol of an extreme controversy as it deals in the first place with the opposition of the church and everything unreligious. Throughout such symbolism the author reveals the fact of how hysterical and narrow-minded were the people of the old Salem. The whole society seems to be completely unhealthy and uneducated as they get focused on the issues that do not require such an excessive attention. They do not know what to do with their lives and each smaller event in the life of every Salem dweller becomes an issue of judgment. So basically, the Salem witches were those who were different in any way either good or evil. Everything that seemed scary and not understandable for the people of Salem obtained the tag of being a result of practicing witchcraft.

It is obvious that the major symbol of the play is the mockery of the inability of the court to make correct judgments or the judgments being so highly influenced by the church. Due to the trial’s incompetence and inability to be objective innocent people got accused of something they had no relation to. These dramatic accusations become the reflection of the society of the America’s 1950’s. In other words, the witch trial is the parallel to the collapse of the court system. The court does bring justice to the world but it seems to make the social relations even more complicated.

Another moment that needs to me mentioned in terms of the symbolism of the witch trials is the fact that witches belong to the female gender. As females were the most unprotected social group of those years, correspondingly they became the “target” for those trials.

Conclusion: Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” is a complex play which is mostly represented by its brightest symbol – the Witch trial. The accusations that were faced by women back in the 1950’s and the incapacity of the court to protect the innocent ones resulted in Arthur Miller ridiculing the court system.


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