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The Crucible

Essay by   •  September 9, 2010  •  884 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,209 Views

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The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, is a historical fiction play about the famed Salem witch trials. Historical fiction? So it's both historical fact and fiction? Is it more fact or fiction? In my opinion this play, The Crucible, is more fiction than fact. This is only my opinion though, it is not a fact and it cannot be proven that the play is more fact than fiction or the other way around. In this paper I will discuss why it is my opinion that The Crucible is more fiction that fact. In my opinion that Arthur Miller changed too many things in the play to make it very factual. Why did he do that? I think that there are several reasons.

One of the reasons is in fact the reason he wrote the play. According to several sites Miller wrote the play to be a parody of the McCarthy era, in which there was a 'witch hunt' for communists.(Context) Miller was actually one of the people questioned by the McCarthy committee. We now know that the McCarthy witch hunt was based on very little real, factual evidence, much like the Salem witch trials. Not only was this play supposed to parody the McCarthy era, chances are Miller wrote the play to be a success. Many good books have a love interest to make the book more readable. Arthur Miller wanted to do good work, just like everyone else who writes stories, and to make the play better he added a love interest between John Proctor and Abigail Williams. That is one of the huge changes that he made to the story. The love affair did not, and could not happen.

In The Crucible, Abigail Williams is 17 years old and John Proctor is middle aged and probably in his 30's. These ages that Miller gave them in the play were not correct, but they made the chances of them having an affair more feasible. According to one site, Miller later admitted to changing the age of Abigail from eleven years old to seventeen, but he never said anything about John Proctors real age being sixty-something. (Margo Burns) The real ages of Abigail and Proctor destroys the idea of their affair, which is one of the bases of this play. In the play, Abigail started the whole witch hunt because she wanted Proctor to be hers again. This is one of the largest detours from fact in The Crucible.

Not only did he change the ages of some of the main characters, he also changed their occupations and families. For instance, John Proctor was not a farmer, but an innkeeper. Another example of this was in the Putnam family. In the play, Goody Putnam wails that only one of her eight children (Ruth) lived beyond infancy. In actuality she had six living children at the time, and none of them were named Ruth. The daughter in the play had her name changed from Anne Putnam Junior, to Ruth Putnam, probably to keep people from getting confused. There were many other differences between the historical fact, and Miller's fiction. For one thing, there was never any dancing in the woods or conjuring with Tituba in real life. The only 'magic' that the girls actually did with Tituba, was trying to find out what jobs their future husbands would have, by looking into a 'magic crystal ball' made

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