What does Miller mean when he says that he has "symbolized them all in Hathrone and Danforth?"

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While Miller is faithful to the historical record, I think that he had to take some level of artistic liberty with what is being presented.  Instead of bogging down the audience with multiple characters who accomplished the same purpose, Miller did some consolidation of characters.  Danforth and Hathorne are two such examples.  Miller wanted to represent the entire attitude of those who were in the position of power over the legal proceedings in Salem.  Rather than dwell on multiple judges with multiple characterizations, it worked best to simply focus on two characters who embodied all of the traits of those who were in the position of power.  This makes it easier, from a dramatic point of view, to examine issues of conflict and characterization.  In this light, Miller is able to harness the same energy and intensity and do it in fewer characters who end up becoming more distinct. Miller had to make a critical call between historian and artist and recognized that it would serve the drama's themes better to choose the latter over the former in this instance.