Consider how you might distribute blame for John and Abigail’s relationship in The Crucible. Figure out how you would distribute the 100% of blame “points.” Using your blame distribution as your guide, write a prequel scene to The Crucible that illustrates why you assigned the blame the way in which you did. You may include as few or as many of the characters from the play as you’d like. Characters can also enter and exit the scene as your stage directions indicate. Also, indicate the setting at the beginning of your scene (including how far before the beginning of the play it occurs). Follow the same format as the book, write stage directions in italics, and keep in mind the ways the characters acted in the play. 

Since distributing blame is the easiest part of this exercise on The Crucible, you might consider writing the prequel first, allowing you to discover how much blame to allocate to each character by improving your understanding through reading, thinking, and writing about them.

Expert Answers

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If you have no strong ideas about the blameworthiness of the three characters, you may wish to write the prequel before you assign the percentages. From a literary point of view, allocating a certain amount of blame to each character is the least interesting thing about the idea of writing a prequel. It is also the easiest.

Although you can include any characters you like, unless you have a clear alternative idea, you will want, at a bare minimum, some dialogue between John and Elizabeth and some between John and Abigail. Fortunately, you have good models for this. Look at Miller's dialogue between John and Abigail in act 1 and between John and Elizabeth in act 2. The first thing you will notice is how strained their conversation is in both cases. Was this always a feature of both relationships? If you think it was, you might begin by showing John and Elizabeth failing to communicate and John seeking solace from Abigail.

The dynamics of the way their affair begins will require skillful handling. John is older than Abigail, and he is the married party. These facts suggest that he is the more responsible of the two. However, Miller depicts Abigail as being extremely skilled in manipulating others. You might show how Abigail uses the difference in their positions to make John feel guilty and do as she wishes. Remember that you can use stage directions as well as dialogue to accomplish this.

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