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age matters

             Children did not have a very important role back in the 1600s; in fact, they hardly had one at all. Their job was to stand next to their parents, very still, and not speak unless spoken to. They would never dream of talking back to an adult, or going against an adult's word, unless they were asking for a beating. This was definitely the way of life in Salem Village, Massachusetts, in those times. So, when the whole idea of witchcraft arose in this little town, people were shocked and amazed, especially because it was the children that were involved. In the play The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, he retells history, but modifies a few minor details, and adds in a few from his own imagination along the way. The one main detail that he altered of this terribly unfair period in our nation's history was Abigail Williams's age, one of the main young women involved in the tale. In real life, she was only eleven years old, but in the play, Miller makes her to be seventeen. He alters this fact in order to allow for a romance between her and an older man, to raise her maturity level, and to also raise her leadership abilities as an older woman. Now, as audiences have also discovered happens in Hollywood remakes of history, Miller wanted to add some sort of element of excitement to this period in time by adding in a romance between two characters. In real life, this was never heard of, because Abigail was only eleven, but seventeen was a reasonable age in Miller's mind for this to occur in his play. The man that Abigail loves in the play is John Proctor, who is much older and married. They had an affair, but he wants to put it out of mind; "Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I"ll ever reach for you again. Wipe it out of mind. We never touched, Abby." (Miller 23). If Abby was only the tender age of eleven in Miller's play, he would not be able to make her out as being as mature about the witchcraft issues the town of Salem is facing.

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