At the very end of The Crucible, there is a scene where John Proctor and Abigail are talking in forest. Why did Arthur Miller delete that scene?

Expert Answers
favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this deleted scene, Abigail tells John that her "spirit's changed entirely. [She] ought to be given Godly looks when [she] suffer[s]" for the people as she does. Abigail shows John the marks she claims to have received from the specters of various accused witches, and the stage direction says that John "see[s] [her] madness now." Abigail seems sincere when she accuses John of being hypocritical and speaking for his wife Elizabeth because Abigail believes John secretly wants her dead. 

I think such a scene casts Abigail's state of mind into doubt: has her mind really turned?  If so, if she has gone mad as a result of the hysteria, then this might cause the audience to feel sympathy for her, and Miller doesn't want us to sympathize with Abigail. He wouldn't want to lessen the amount that we can blame her for what has happened because Abigail, in many ways, represents Senator Joseph McCarthy, the congressman who led the witch hunt for Communists in the 1950s and '60s. In order to make his point, to really compare McCarthy to the Salem residents that Americans judge so harshly for the Witch Trials, Miller needs us to see Abigail as absolutely within her right mind and thus unproblematically responsible for the violence her accusations cause.

Read the study guide:
The Crucible

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question