I need to write about the historical inaccuracies inArthur MIller's The Crucible and cite the pages numbers.  What can I say in terms of the houses in Salem, the theocracy, daily life, and the...

I need to write about the historical inaccuracies inArthur MIller's The Crucible and cite the pages numbers.  What can I say in terms of the houses in Salem, the theocracy, daily life, and the church services?  I'm aware of the people's ages being different, that Betty's mother is alive, that Rev. Parris didn't graduate from Havard College.  

Asked on by smasella

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Arthur Miller, in "Why I Wrote The Crucible," states that the writing of the play was "an act of desperation." The play, for Miller,mirrored what was happening in life (for him) during the Red Scare (the accusations against Americans of Communist sympathy). Similarly, Miller found that the Salem Witch trials mirrored what was happening in America at the time. Miller states that the Crucible is,essentially, historical fiction (fictitious literature based upon historical fact). Miller took certain artistic freedoms and licenses with his interpretation of the times. 

As for historical inaccuracies, many exist with the play. Here is a list of the inaccuracies.

-Reverend Parris had two other children who are never spoken of (Thomas and Susannah). 

-Abigail Williams was only eleven, not seventeen as Miller's play states. 

-The Putnams did not only have one child to survive childbirth. In fact, their daughter was not named Ruth; her real name was Ann Putnam, Jr. The Putnams did lose some children during childbirth, but they did have six children who lived. Ann Putnam, Jr. was the oldest. 

- Betty's mother, Elizabeth Eldrich Parris, died in 1696 (not in 1692-1693, prior to the witch trials). 

- There were numerous judges during the trials, not only Hathorne. There were twelve officials of the courts. 

-Reverend Hale would not have signed any warrants ("death warrants"). William Stoughton signed the warrants. 

Sources:
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DrSusan | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

It sounds like you are tyring to answer the question if Puritan life in Salem was accurately depicted in The Crucible. I agree that laughing in church (p. 44) would be severely frowned upon by the Puritans (as would sleeping or fidgeting in church).  At the Puritan services a man called a tithing man would poke anyone who misbehaved in church.  In addition, the Sabbath day was strictly observed by Puritans.  They were mandated to go to church and the services were rather lengthy, lasting three hours in the morning and two in the afternoon.  The remainder of the Sabbath day consisted of strictly religious activities like prayer recitation, bible readings, and contemplation.  John Proctor obviously wasn't a devout Puritan in that he didn't attend church services regularly (pp. 23 and 28), not all his children were baptized, and he plowed his fields on the Sabbath.  All of these activities would have been considered sinful and would have been severly punished.

Note that on p. 23 Proctor told Abigail that he "hardly stepped off my farm this sevenmonth."  On page 28, Putnam says to Proctor the following regarding his church attendance: "I do not think I saw you at Sabbath meeting since snow flew."  Rev. Hale asks Proctor why not all his children are baptized (p. 65) and says that "a Christian on Sabbath Day must be in church" (also p. 65).  It is mentioned that Mr. Proctor plowed on Sunday by Cheever on p. 90 and Judge Danforth reactions to plowing is on p. 91.

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