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The Crucible: Fact vs. Fiction

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Meryn Corkery

on 9 December 2013

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Transcript of The Crucible: Fact vs. Fiction

The Crucible: Fact vs. Fiction
-Really was stoned to death, refused to be tried
-Recognized that even if he plead innocent, he would still be convicted
-Had already been in trouble with the law for murder previously
-Slowly pressed to death over a period of two days
-Also testified against his wife when she was accused of witchcraft
Fact or Fiction
Giles Corey died by having "great stones... [lain] upon his chest until he plead aye or nay." (135)
Fact or Fiction
John Proctor and Abigail Williams had an affair that resulted in Abigail being "put out... on the high road" (110) by Elizabeth.
Fact or Fiction
"John Proctor was a farmer", who was "even-tempered" and "respected" (20)
Fact or Fiction
Tituba was a "Negro slave... from Barbados".(8)

Arthur Miller included a note on historical accuracy of the script.

"Not a history in the sense... used by the academic historian... Little is known about most of [the characters]" (2)

How much of it was accurately depicted in the play?

Take this quiz to find out!
Salem Witch Hunt
In reality, John Proctor was 60 years old and Abigail was just 11 years old. This age gap, along with there being no concrete evidence that Abigail was employed by the Proctors, made it very improbable that such an affair would ever happen.

Historically inaccurate-
"During the examination of Elizabeth Procter, Abigail Williams and Ann Putnam both made offer to strike at said Procter; but when Abigail's hand came near, it opened, whereas it was made up into a fist before, and came down exceeding lightly as it drew near to said Procter, and at length, with open and extended fingers, touched Procter's hood very lightly. Immediately Abigail cried out her fingers, her fingers, her fingers burned" -Salem Witchcraft

-His own infidelity with his wife Mary Grace Slattery
-Was a farmer, also operated a tavern in Ipswich
-More respected man in Salem, higher economic standard than most
-Strong-willed, entrepreneur and a successful business man
John Proctor Cont.
-Evidence that he abused his slaves, accused by his slaves

-Cruel person, contrary to Arthur Miller's depiction of "even-tempered"

-Was not accused by Abigail, originally accused by Mary Warren

-May have been accused due to resentment, envy

-Miller may have modeled Proctor after himself

-Did maintain innocence until his execution, questioned validity of evidence, does not "believe in witches" (37)

-Referred to as an Indian women in primary sources
-Not much concrete information because she was a slave
-the first "witch" to confess and then proceeded to accuse other witches as her accomplices
Why would Arthur Miller make these changes?
What if we only learned history from dramatic mediums?
Other Minor Inaccuracies
Prominent Figures Left Out
-Name change- Mrs. Putnam's daughter
-Happened over a period of many months
-Not just Abigail had pins stuck in her- Mary Warren, Mary Walcott (Susanna in The Crucible), and Susanna Sheldon (not in the play)
-girls did not scream/fly- odd behaviour, fits, strange speech
-Mimicked Martha Corey, not Mary Warren
Fact or Fiction
Thomas Putnam lost "all but one" (28) of his eight children at the hands of Goody Osburn and other supposed witches.
-only lost one child
-Ann Putnam actually pretended to be afflicted
-Handwriting analysis- 122 depositions written by Thomas, manipulate them
- Tried to influence judges in his favour
Bridget Bishop- first executed
Judges Jonathan Corwin and William Stoughton
George Burroughs- former minister, executed, thought to be the ringleader of the witches
John Indian- Tituba's husband

Several other innocent people executed
-Model real life events
-his own trouble with the law
-failing marriage

-More interesting, dramatic
Works Cited
Ann, Tiffany. “Trial for Historical Accuracy - The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 vs The Crucible.” Psychic Paranormal Forum. anybodythere.net, 20 Mar. 2012. Web. 8 Dec. 2013.

Burns, Margo. “Arthur Miller’s The Crucible: Fact & Fiction.” 17th Century Colonial New England. N.p., 21 June 2013. Web. 8 Dec. 2013.

“Important Persons in the Salem Court Records.” Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project. Benjamin Ray, The U of Virginia, 2002. Web. 8 Dec. 2013.

Miller, Arthur. “Why I Wrote ‘The Crucible.’” The New Yorker [New York] 15 Apr. 2002: n. pag. Rpt. in The New Yorker. New York: Conde Nast., n.d. N. pag. Print.
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