The film The Crucible is an adaptation of Arthur Millerís play from the 1950ís.   Miller also wrote the screenplay, which stayed close to the original play except for a few changes.  Major changes were made in the beginning and ending of the film to make the play more visual.  In the beginning of the film, the audience was able to see the girls dancing in the woods, while in the original play the dance was briefly mentioned.  The ending from the original play was completely changed, so that in the film the audience is able to see the hanging of John Proctor.  This made the film more dramatic, and it definitely added to the depth of the film.

        The Crucible is not historically accurate, and Miller never boasted that it was.  The major part that he fabricated was the love affair between John Proctor and Abigail Williams, which many critics complained made the film very dramatic.  He said that the Salem witch trials were a theatrical event, and he did not see the need to hide it.  Even though the film has some fabrications, the play did broadly display the historical background of the time.  Many of the characters were actual people involved in the trials or members of the Salem Village.  It is true that 19 persons were hanged, four died in prison, one was pressed to death, and many more accused.  The director, Nicholas Hytner, prided himself on detail, and the Village and its people had to look according to the times from the clothes to the dirt roads.  What needs to be asked is not the question of the filmís historical accuracy, but whether or not the film demonstrated the panic and fear of 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts.  Miller brilliantly portrayed the witch-hunt the way it should be portrayed, which was a horrific time in our nation.

Copyright (c) 1999 by Tina T. Kao, Undergraduate at Lehigh University.

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