What customs of puritan life did Miller misrepresent in The Crucible?I am writing a research paper about how The Crucible is an inaccurate play in terms of its representation of the Salem Witch...

What customs of puritan life did Miller misrepresent in The Crucible?

I am writing a research paper about how The Crucible is an inaccurate play in terms of its representation of the Salem Witch Trials.  I split it up into customs, people and events.  I had no trouble researching people and events, but I can not find anything about customs.  My teacher said that I had to have three parts.  Also, if you can think of another topic that could replace customs that would be easier to research and makes sense with the rest of the paper feel free to suggest it.

1 Answer | Add Yours

missy575's profile pic

missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Most scholars of this work would disagree with your thesis because Miller went to great lengths to portray the Puritan lifestyle as closely as possible to a viewing audience.

However, if you have the Penguin Classics version of this text, there is an introduction and a "note of historical accuracy of this play" worth looking through. In these, I have uncovered some misrepresentations.

First of all, during the witch trials we can prove with absolute certainty from primary source documents that Abigail Williams was 11 and John Proctor was 60. These circumstances create a far less believable affair when compared to the 19 and 35-year-olds we watch. Sure, Proctor had his beefs with the court, but they were of a much different documented nature. This dulls the suspense of the entire storyline, but it is easy to understand that any author would want to create sex appeal to sell tickets. So the fact that adultery ever happened in Puritan society could be a questionable subject.

Next, there were many more accusers and many more judges. This is a pure fact. This probably demonstrates that Puritans would have customarily relied on great majorities to make decisions, not just 6 girls.

Finally, the language was changed because audiences today would be bored by the discussion of Puritans. In fact, we would likely struggle with their vocabulary. Although Miller tried to somewhat represent them it is not authentic.

I guess in my answer I have come to the conclusion that I disagree with your thesis. However, instead of trying to show that he misrepresented Puritan customs, why don't you think about writing how he misrepresented facts (although he did do a lot of it accurately) in order to create a suspenseful and engaging storyline. His purpose to inform remained the same and we are the better for having this work, it makes us think about how we treat others.

We’ve answered 318,979 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question