The Theme of Names in The Crucible

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 550 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 16, 2024

Words: 550|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 16, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Reputation and Social Standing
  2. Control and Manipulation
  3. Identity and Self-Perception
  4. Conclusion

In The Crucible, the theme of names plays a significant role in the development of the plot and the characters. The importance of names is evident throughout the play, as characters' reputations and fates are often determined by the significance of their names. Names are used as a way to identify individuals, establish social status, and convey power and authority. This essay will explore how the theme of names is portrayed in The Crucible and its impact on the characters and the overall narrative.

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Reputation and Social Standing

One of the key aspects of the theme of names in The Crucible is the idea of reputation. In the Puritan society depicted in the play, a person's name is closely tied to their reputation and social standing. Characters such as John Proctor and Reverend Parris are acutely aware of the importance of their names and go to great lengths to protect their reputations. For example, when Proctor is accused of witchcraft, he is willing to sacrifice his own life rather than tarnish his name and reputation in the community. The fear of being associated with the devil leads characters to make desperate choices, highlighting the power of names in shaping their actions and decisions.

Control and Manipulation

Another aspect of the theme of names in The Crucible is the use of names as a form of control and manipulation. Characters such as Abigail Williams and Thomas Putnam use their names to exert power and influence over others. Abigail, for example, falsely accuses innocent people of witchcraft in order to protect her own reputation and gain control over the community. By invoking the names of others in her accusations, she is able to manipulate the religious authorities and incite fear and hysteria among the townspeople. The use of names as a tool for manipulation underscores the corrupt nature of the society depicted in the play, where truth and justice are often sacrificed in the pursuit of personal gain.

Identity and Self-Perception

The theme of names in The Crucible also highlights the role of identity and self-perception. Characters such as Elizabeth Proctor and Rebecca Nurse struggle with the perception of their names in the community. Elizabeth, for example, is judged harshly by others based on her husband's actions and is forced to confront her own sense of self-worth and integrity. The pressure to conform to societal expectations and maintain a certain image can lead characters to question their own identities and values. The theme of names serves as a lens through which characters grapple with issues of morality, loyalty, and self-preservation in a society where reputation is everything.

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The theme of names in The Crucible is a powerful motif that underscores the complexities of human nature and society. Names are not merely labels or identifiers but symbols of reputation, power, and identity. The characters in the play navigate the treacherous terrain of Salem's rigid social hierarchy, where names can be both a source of pride and a weapon of destruction. Through the exploration of the theme of names, Arthur Miller invites readers to reflect on the ways in which language, perception, and reputation shape our understanding of ourselves and others. The Crucible reminds us that a name is not just a word but a reflection of our beliefs, values, and actions.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

The Theme of Names in The Crucible. (2024, March 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
“The Theme of Names in The Crucible.” GradesFixer, 15 Mar. 2024,
The Theme of Names in The Crucible. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jun. 2024].
The Theme of Names in The Crucible [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 15 [cited 2024 Jun 21]. Available from:
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