The Salem Witch Trials & The World of the Play

By Kerri Ann Considine

Miller used the events of the Salem Witch trials as fodder for The Crucible, but took some artistic licenses with the chronology and with the people involved. For example, Abigail Williams was just 11 years old at the time of the trials, not 17. John Procter was, in fact, much older than the 35 years Miller assigns him. There is no evidence that Procter and Williams had an affair or any kind of sexual contact. However, Abigail was one of the accusers of both John and Elizabeth Procter. Mary Warren was an accuser, then accused, then an accuser again. Rebecca Nurse was executed a month before Procter, meaning she would not have been in attendance during his final days. The events of the trials were, in fact, spread out over the course of a year, although much of the flurry of accusations and executions occurred between March and September of 1692.

A note on spelling: Spelling was not standardized at this time, and even the names of people and places sometimes have many spelling variations. For example: Proctor/Procter, Esty/Easty, Corey/Core/Cory. You will notice as you look through these materials that variations occur – I have not standardized the spelling.

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