Arthur Miller and his Distorted Historical Accuracies
In 1953, Arthur Miller wrote his famous play The Crucible, in response to a fear of Communism that had developed in the United States during that decade. The "Red Scare", as it was later called by historians was led by Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose paranoia of a communist takeover spread through the nation like a wildfire. Men and women alike fell victim to McCarthy's pointed finger and as a result of this hysteria, were mostly deported from the country, their careers and lives ruined.
Some argue today that McCarthy's plan had been to use the fear of the American people to throw his enemies out of office and gain power himself. Whatever McCarthy's motives may have been, Arthur Miller realized the senator's ludicracy when he attempted to accuse the President himself to be Communist. Miller and the rest of the American people drew the line and McCarthy was seen a fraud. By the time the rest of the public had came to this realization, Miller's play was written.
The Crucible is a play in which Arthur Miller parallels events of the Salem witch trials of 1692 to the problems that were plaguing his own society. The statement that most readers today bring out of the play is that history has a way of repeating itself. Miller's play was an extreme hit upon release and won a Tony award. The play is so popular today that many teachers in secondary schools use it to base their lesson around when teaching their students about 1692 Salem and there are multimedia activities based on Salem through The Crucible's view. Miller is often asked to speak at events where similar "witch hunts" occur, acting as a sort of expert on the subject of Puritan Salem and acts of hysteria.
The question is, why is Arthur Miller revered by so many as "the man to ask" regarding the Salem Witch trials when his play had many inaccuracies, some very obvious? Miller's play is not a historical account of the events in 1692 Salem, but rather a work of fiction. It is important to realize that what Miller wrote is not fact by revealing where his play is historically flawed. Some of the more important discrepancies are discussed below:
By examining Miller's main plot relationship between characters Abigail Williams and John Proctor, we uncover many discrepancies, mainly that there was no relationship at all.