Unveiling the Meaning: What Does the Golden Candlesticks Symbolize in The Crucible?

When it comes to drama literature, “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller is a masterpiece that can never get old. This play is a representation of the Salem witch trials in the province of Massachusetts during the late 17th century. Throughout the play, there are several symbols that Miller incorporated, each representing something distinct. One of the symbolic characters in the play is the golden candlesticks. What do the golden candlesticks in “The Crucible” symbolize, and what do they represent?

The golden candlesticks in “The Crucible” are an essential element in the play. They are used to signify the Puritan values and traditions. These precious artifacts were owned by Reverend Parris, who is one of the main characters in the play. The candlesticks differentiate the Puritan culture from other religions and cultures. The Puritan faith considered gold as a symbol of purity and light, making the golden candlesticks a significant symbol in the play.

The golden candlesticks in “The Crucible” also represent a sense of authority. Reverend Parris was known to be a man of high stature and a significant player in the Salem community. The candlesticks were placed on his altar, which made him look more powerful. This element of power is prominent throughout the play, as the characters with a high social standing often used their authority to control the community. As the story progresses, the significance of the candlesticks becomes more apparent, making them an essential symbol in the play.

The Religious Significance of Candlesticks

In Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, the golden candlesticks are symbolic of the religious fervor of the Puritan society in which the play is set. The characters in the play are deeply religious and believe that their actions are guided by God’s will. As such, the use of candlesticks in the play holds a significant religious meaning.

  • Light: Candlesticks are used to hold candles, which are a symbol of light in many religions. In the play, the golden candlesticks represent the light of God and the purity of faith. They are an embodiment of the righteousness and holiness that the Puritans strive to achieve.
  • Worship: The Puritan society in the play is deeply religious and the candlesticks are used during worship. The characters use the candlesticks to light up the church and create an atmosphere of piety. The candlesticks are also seen as an aid to prayer, with their light symbolizing the presence of God.
  • Wealth: The golden candlesticks in the play are an indication of the wealth of the church. They signify the influence and power of the religious authorities in the community. The characters in the play are aware of this symbolism and are quick to accuse each other of stealing or coveting the candlesticks.

The use of candlesticks in the play highlights the religious significance of mundane objects in the Puritan society. The golden candlesticks, in particular, serve as a reminder of the power and influence of the church during that time. They also symbolize the deep-seated religious beliefs of the characters in the play, who are willing to go to extreme lengths to defend their faith.

Symbolism as a Literary Device

Symbolism is a literary device used to add meaning and depth to a story. By using symbols, the author can convey complex ideas without explicitly stating them. In Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, the use of symbolism enhances the themes of the play, making it more powerful and thought-provoking.

The Symbolism of the Golden Candlesticks in The Crucible

  • The Golden Candlesticks are a symbol of Purity and Reverence
  • The Golden Candlesticks represent the religious values of the community
  • The Golden Candlesticks are also symbolic of Wealth and Materialism

The Golden Candlesticks are important symbols in The Crucible. They are mentioned frequently throughout the play, and their meaning evolves as the story progresses. At first, they represent the purity and reverence of the church. They are described as being “pure gold” and having “beauty and elegance” which suggests a religious connotation.

However, as the story continues, the Golden Candlesticks take on a new meaning. They become a symbol of the materialism and greed that is prevalent in the community. This is seen when Reverend Parris becomes more concerned about the theft of his candlesticks than the well-being of his daughter, Betty. His obsession with his possessions makes him blind to the bigger picture of what is happening around him.

To further illustrate the significance of the Golden Candlesticks, Miller includes a scene where Reverend Parris is arguing with John Proctor about money. During their argument, Parris references the candlesticks, saying “There is a party in this church. I am not blind; there is a faction and a party.” This statement implies that the Golden Candlesticks represent the division that is occurring in the community, with some people valuing material possessions over the well-being of others.

Symbol Meaning
Purity and Reverence Represents the religious values of the community
Wealth and Materialism Symbolic of the greed and division in the community

The Golden Candlesticks serve as a powerful symbol of the themes found in The Crucible. Their meaning evolves throughout the play, adding depth and complexity to the story. Miller’s use of symbolism is an effective literary technique that enhances the overall impact of the play, making it a timeless classic.

Historical context of the Puritan era

The Golden Candlesticks play a significant role in Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible. The play is set in Salem, Massachusetts, during the Puritan era of the late 1600s. The Puritans were a strict religious group who believed in strict adherence to the Bible and the teachings of the church. The Puritans emphasized the importance of personal salvation, and they often looked for signs of God’s grace in their lives.

The Puritans believed that the world was filled with evil and that Satan was always trying to tempt them into sin. As a result, they were quick to see the devil’s work in everyday events and were prone to panic and hysteria. These fears and anxieties are evident in The Crucible, where the villagers accuse each other of witchcraft and evil deeds.

The Symbolism of the Golden Candlesticks

  • The Golden Candlesticks are a crucial symbol in The Crucible, representing the connections between the church and the state in colonial Massachusetts. Puritans who held positions of authority in the church also held positions of power in the government. This meant that individuals who were perceived as threats to the church were also perceived as political threats.
  • In The Crucible, the Golden Candlesticks are initially described as an “official sign” of the church in Salem. They are captured by the court as evidence of the accused witches’ pact with the devil, indicating that they have used the stolen church property for dark purposes.
  • The Golden Candlesticks also represent the broader theme of religious hypocrisy in the play. The characters who claim to be most devout and righteous, such as Reverend Parris, are often revealed to be selfish, manipulative, and corrupt.

The Use of Historical Context in The Crucible

Miller’s uses The Crucible to explore the Puritan era’s religious and political tensions and draw parallels with McCarthyism in the 1950s. The play reflects the fear and hysteria of the Cold War era, in which individuals were unjustly accused of being communists or communist sympathizers without evidence or fair trials.

By drawing parallels between the Puritan era and McCarthyism, Miller highlights the timeless nature of human fears and the dangers of unchecked power. The Golden Candlesticks become a powerful symbol of the consequences of religious and political corruption.


Symbol Meaning
Golden Candlesticks Corruption, hypocrisy, and abuses of power in religious and political institutions.

The Golden Candlesticks in The Crucible are a powerful symbol of the tensions and corruption present in colonial Massachusetts and the broader themes of religious hypocrisy and political abuse of power. Miller’s use of this historical context and symbolism creates a powerful reflection of the dangers of unchecked power, fear, and hysteria.

The symbolism of gold in literature

Gold has always been seen as a symbol of wealth, power, and success. In literature, it has been used as a symbol to represent different ideas and emotions. Some of the most common symbolic meanings of gold in literature are:

  • Wealth and luxury
  • Royalty and power
  • Purity and integrity
  • The divine and spiritual

The symbolic significance of the golden candlesticks in The Crucible

In The Crucible, the golden candlesticks are a symbol of wealth and luxury. They are used to showcase the status and power of Reverend Parris, who owns them. However, they also represent the corruption and moral decay that has taken over the town of Salem. The golden candlesticks highlight the greed, selfishness, and materialism of the characters in the play.

The impact of materialism on the characters in The Crucible

The characters in The Crucible are obsessed with material possessions and wealth, which leads to their downfall. They are willing to sacrifice their principles and values to gain more power and money. The golden candlesticks symbolize this materialism, which blinds the characters from the truth and causes them to become corrupt.

The table shows the connection between gold and the four elements

Element Characteristic Symbolic meaning of gold
Fire Transformation Alchemy and spiritual purification
Air Intellect Intellectual and creative achievement
Water Purity Cleansing and healing properties
Earth Stability Wealth and material possessions

The table shows how gold is connected to the four elements – fire, air, water, and earth. Each element has its own characteristic, which influences the symbolic meaning of gold in literature. For example, gold is associated with wealth and material possessions because of its relation to the earth element.

The portrayal of religion in The Crucible

Religion plays a significant role in The Crucible, bringing up themes of morality, guilt, and redemption. The play takes place in the Puritan society of Salem, Massachusetts, where religious beliefs dominate every aspect of life. The characters’ religious convictions shape their actions, their views on society, and their interactions with each other and with God. Here, we explore the portrayal of religion in The Crucible and its significance in the play’s plot and themes.

What do the golden candlesticks symbolize in The Crucible?

Symbols are a crucial part of Arthur Miller’s play, and one of the most prominent symbols is the golden candlesticks. They hold great significance in the play, representing the religious values of the Puritan society and the characters’ spiritual journeys.

  • The golden candlesticks are a prized possession of Reverend Parris and represent his materialistic and authoritarian nature. He values them more than the spiritual well-being of his community and uses his position to exert his power.
  • For Proctor, the golden candlesticks represent his inner guilt and desire for redemption. He knows he has sinned and feels that returning the candlesticks will be a symbolic act of repentance.
  • The golden candlesticks also symbolize the conflict between materialism and spirituality in the play. The characters’ obsession with material possessions, status, and power conflicts with their religious convictions and moral values.

In the end, Proctor’s decision to keep his confession and die rather than falsely accuse others and live represents his journey towards spiritual redemption and his defiance against the corrupt system. The golden candlesticks, thus, serve as a powerful and multifaceted symbol of religion, morality, power, and redemption in The Crucible.

The role of objects in conveying meaning in literature

Objects play an important role in conveying meaning in literature. By using objects as symbols, authors can communicate complex themes and emotions effectively. One such example is the golden candlesticks in Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible.

  • The significance of the golden candlesticks
  • The symbolism behind the number 6
  • The role of the candlesticks in the play’s themes

The golden candlesticks in The Crucible symbolize religious devotion, purity, and materialism. According to the play, they were handcrafted by Giles Corey and passed down to his wife, Martha Corey. These candlesticks were an important symbol of the couple’s faith and also represented their social status in the community.

However, the number 6 inscribed on the candlesticks holds critical symbolism. The number six signifies imperfection and incompleteness in Judaism and Christianity. The candlesticks having six points indicate that they are not complete, suggesting that the characters who own them, Martha and Giles Corey, may not be perfect either.

The role of the candlesticks in the play’s themes is multi-layered. On the one hand, they represent the religious oppression that was prevalent in Salem during the 17th century. On the other hand, they symbolize the characters’ relationships with each other. For example, when Reverend Parris demands the golden candlesticks at the beginning of the play, he is asserting his authority over the community. Later on, when John Proctor confesses to his adultery, he uses the candlesticks as a symbol of his devotion to his wife, Elizabeth.

Symbolism Description
Religious Devotion The candlesticks are handcrafted by Giles and passed down to his wife, who is represented as an upstanding member of the community
Purity The golden color of the candlesticks highlights the couple’s purity and spiritual devotion
Materialism The candlesticks represent social status and wealth
Imperfection The number six inscribed on the candlesticks symbolize imperfection and incompleteness

Overall, the golden candlesticks in The Crucible symbolize several themes, including religious devotion, purity, and materialism, but they also carry hidden meanings behind their imprints. Their symbolism represents the play’s themes and highlights the complexity of the characters within the play.

The Importance of Setting in The Crucible

The setting of a story can have a profound impact on its overall meaning and symbolism. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, the time and place where the events occur hold significant importance that adds depth and complexities to the characters and their actions.

The Symbolism of Golden Candlesticks in The Crucible

  • The golden candlesticks in The Crucible serve as a motif for wealth, status, and power. They symbolize the wealth of the church and the high esteem that the community holds for their religious leaders.
  • The candlesticks are also a representation of the corruption that exists within the church. They are often described as being “shoved” or “placed” rather than being handled with care, indicating a lack of reverence for their spiritual significance.
  • John Proctor gives the golden candlesticks to his wife before his execution, symbolically affirming his love and commitment to her over material possessions and the corrupted church.

The Significance of the Number 7 in The Crucible

The number 7 has a significant symbolic role in The Crucible. In the play, Miller uses the number seven to represent the idea of completeness and perfection.

Here are some instances where the number 7 appears in The Crucible:

Occurrence What it Represents
There are 7 girls who accuse others of witchcraft Completeness of the accusations
The trials last for 7 months Perfection of the court’s power and control over the accused
Rebecca Nurse is accused on the 7th day of the trials Completion of the court’s false accusations against innocent people

Overall, the presence of the number 7 in The Crucible serves to emphasize the completeness of the witch trials and the corrupt power of the court over the lives of the citizens of Salem.

The Symbolism of Fire in The Crucible

Fire plays a crucial role in Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, set in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. The Puritans in this play view fire as a symbol of purification and punishment, and fire imagery is used to convey the themes of the play: truth, power, and redemption.

The Symbolism of Golden Candlesticks in The Crucible

  • Golden candlesticks are symbolic of wealth and luxury in the Puritan community. The Putnams, a wealthy and influential family in Salem, own a pair of golden candlesticks that are coveted by other characters in the play, such as Reverend Parris.
  • Golden candlesticks also symbolize religious fervor, as they are used in church services to hold the candles that represent the light of God. In the play, the golden candlesticks are taken from the church and used as evidence against Martha Corey, who is accused of witchcraft.
  • Finally, the golden candlesticks are linked to the themes of truth and deception in The Crucible. When John Proctor tries to convince Mary Warren to tell the truth about the girls’ lies, he gives her a gift of a “pinch of golden candlestick” as a bribe to get her to speak out. The use of the golden candlesticks as a bribe highlights how truth and honesty are often manipulated in the play.

The Numerology of the Number Eight in The Crucible

In the play, the number eight is a recurring motif that is used to symbolize completion and authority.

The first mention of the number eight occurs in Act One, when Abigail and the other girls are caught dancing in the woods. Reverend Parris asks them how many of them were involved, and Abigail replies: “There were eight of us.” This number is significant because it represents a complete group–the girls are all present and accounted for, and their unity gives them power.

Later in the play, John Proctor and Reverend Hale discuss the significance of the number eight in the Bible. Proctor points out that the eighth commandment is “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor,” which is ironic given the rampant lying and deceit in Salem. Hale notes that the number eight is also associated with resurrection and rebirth, which foreshadows the possibility of redemption for the characters in the play.

Symbolism Meaning
Golden candlesticks Wealth, religious fervor, truth and deception
Number eight Completion, authority, false witness, resurrection and rebirth

In conclusion, the use of fire, golden candlesticks, and the number eight in The Crucible serves to underscore the play’s themes of truth, power, and redemption. By examining these symbols and motifs, we can gain a deeper understanding of the characters and their struggles in the face of persecution and injustice.

The Influence of Arthur Miller’s Personal Experiences on the Play

Arthur Miller’s personal experiences greatly influenced the writing of “The Crucible.” The play is a reflection of Miller’s own experiences during the anti-communist Red Scare of the 1950s. Like many others in Hollywood, Miller was investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) for allegedly being a Communist sympathizer. Miller refused to name names of other alleged Communist sympathizers, which resulted in him being charged with contempt of Congress and temporarily blacklisted. This experience deeply influenced the themes and characters in “The Crucible.”

  • The focus on the danger of accusing innocent people
  • The importance of standing up for your beliefs, even in the face of persecution
  • The characterization of the accused as sympathetic and innocent

Miller understood firsthand the dangers of accusing innocent people, as he was falsely accused himself. This is reflected in the play through the characters of Rebecca Nurse and John Proctor, who are both accused of witchcraft despite their innocence. Miller also believed strongly in the importance of standing up for one’s beliefs, even in the face of persecution. This is reflected in the character of Proctor, who chooses to die rather than compromise his integrity.

To further emphasize his point, Miller made sure to portray the accused as sympathetic and innocent. This was a direct contrast to the popular perception of Communists and other supposed subversives during the Red Scare, who were often portrayed as dangerous and un-American.

Overall, Miller’s personal experiences give “The Crucible” a rawness and authenticity that make it a highly relevant and powerful play today.

The Use of Allegory in The Crucible

Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, is steeped in allegory, using symbolic elements to convey deeper meaning and allude to real-life events. One prominent example of symbolism in the play is the golden candlesticks owned by Reverend Parris. These candlesticks serve as an allegory for the corrupt power of the church in Salem.

  • Excess: The candlesticks are described as being made of pure gold and adorned with intricate carvings. This excessive display of wealth is not consistent with the teachings of Christianity and highlights the corruption of the Church in Salem.
  • Manipulation: The candlesticks are also a means of manipulation and control for Reverend Parris. He is obsessed with his reputation and wealth, and his possession of such valuable items helps to elevate his social status.
  • Duality: The candlesticks are constantly referenced as a pair, symbolizing duality and the coexistence of good and evil. This duality is evident throughout the play, as characters struggle with the choice between right and wrong in the face of societal pressure.

Moreover, the number ten is significant in the symbolism of the candlesticks, representing completion and perfection. In the Bible, the Ten Commandments serve as the foundation of Christian morality and ethics, and the ten plagues of Egypt signify God’s ultimate power. The use of ten in The Crucible emphasizes the idea that corruption and abuse of power can come from even the most seemingly perfect and righteous institutions or individuals.

Symbolism Meaning in The Crucible Biblical Significance
Golden Candlesticks Corruption, Manipulation, Duality Ten Commandments, Ten Plagues

Overall, the symbolism of the golden candlesticks in The Crucible serves as a warning against the dangers of unchecked power and corruption, and highlights the importance of moral integrity and the dangers of blind obedience to authority.

What Does the Golden Candlesticks Symbolize in The Crucible?

Q: What are the golden candlesticks?

A: The golden candlesticks are a set of precious metal candleholders that belong to John Proctor and his wife Elizabeth in the play The Crucible.

Q: What is the significance of the golden candlesticks?

A: The candlesticks symbolize the Proctor’s wealth and prestige in the community, but more importantly, they represent the couple’s love for each other and the sanctity of their home.

Q: Why are the golden candlesticks important?

A: The candlesticks become a point of conflict in the play when Reverend Parris accuses John Proctor of withholding them for monetary gain. Later in the play, Elizabeth suggests that John confess to adultery to save his life, but he refuses, saying he has already tarnished their relationship by selling the candlesticks.

Q: What is the significance of the candlesticks being made of gold?

A: Gold is a precious metal that has long been associated with wealth, status, and purity. By being made of gold, the candlesticks represent the Proctors’ financial and social status in the community, as well as their ideals of purity and morality.

Q: How do the candlesticks tie into the larger themes of The Crucible?

A: The candlesticks are a symbol of the characters’ struggle to maintain their integrity and moral values in the face of the hysteria and suspicion that dominates the Salem community. The Proctors’ decision to sacrifice the candlesticks for their principles highlights the moral complexity of the play’s themes.

Q: What can we learn from the symbolism of the golden candlesticks?

A: The golden candlesticks in The Crucible illustrate the conflict between material wealth and spiritual values, as well as the importance of personal integrity and the sanctity of the home. These themes continue to resonate with audiences today.

Closing Thoughts

Thank you for reading about what the golden candlesticks symbolize in The Crucible. We hope this article has shed some light on this important theme in the play. Please visit us again for more insightful content on literature and culture.