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Salem Witch Trials

A guide to resources concerning the Salem Witch Trials at the BPL and beyond.

Elizabeth Proctor- “I do not judge you. The magistrate sits in your heart that judges you. I never thought you but a good man, John – only somewhat bewildered.”- Arthur Miller

John Proctor- "Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!" - Arthur Miller

Rebecca Nurse- "A child’s spirit is like a child, you can never catch it by running after it; you must stand still, and, for love, it will soon itself come back." -Arthur Miller

Abigail Williams- "I want to open myself! . . . I want the light of God, I want the sweet love of Jesus! I danced for the Devil; I saw him, I wrote in his book; I go back to Jesus; I kiss His hand. I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!" -Arthur Miller

Reverend Hale- "Until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in Heaven." -Arthur Miller

Very Loosely Based on a True Story

Written in 1953 by playwright Arthur Miller, The Crucible is a heavily fictionalized dramatic depiction of the events of the trials.

Miller made several changes to serve the artistic needs of the story he was writing and also made several possibly unintentional errors. His primary goal in writing the play was for it to serve as an allegory for the anti-Communist crusade of Senator Joseph McCarthy, which was itself called a witch-hunt.

The play became a success and an enduring part of the canon of American drama, and has gone through many adaptations in the past few decades including film, television, theater, and opera.

Resources at the BPL