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Salem Witch Trials

By | Feb. 2013
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Salem Trials Vs. The Crucible Essay
“I am no more a witch than you are a wizard. If you take my life away, God will give you blood to drink” (Good). The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, is a play about the Witch Trials in Salem Massachusetts, 1692. However, while they had many similarities, the actual trials were very different than the play. There are many things that Miller changed in his play to divert from the real events. He changes the characters, the events that occur, and the people’s lives before the Trials started.

While Miller uses many historically accurate characters in his play, many of the characters in The Crucible were also changed drastically from the original Salem Trials to both keep track of and to make the events seem somewhat more appropriate. “Miller admits in the introduction to the play that he boosted Abigail Williams' age to 17 even though the real girl was only 11, but he never mentions that John Proctor was 60” (Burns). The play also portrays the Putnam’s as having all of their children taken from them and only having one survive, Ruth. However, the Putnam’s actually had six living children at this time. It is also not confirmed that Abigail is Parris’ niece, however, she is referred to as kinfolk in original texts.

Miller changed many of the characters lives before the hysteria of the play. For example, in the play, John Proctor was a farmer with his wife Elizabeth and his two young sons. When in actuality, however, John Proctor had three older sons and he was a tavern keeper. Miller also changed Abigail’s age from 11 to 17 to make it more publically acceptable. Parris’ wife is also actually alive during the Trials and dies four years after the Trials as opposed being dead before the trials, like in the play. Another misconception is that Tituba was a black slave from Barbados. She was actually “Amerindian, probably South American Arawak.” (Burns)

Events in Miller’s play were not always historically correct either....
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