Many authors of literature parallel their own lives in their works. This common thread weaves its way through many forms of literature. The parallels that exist between an author and his work function to varying degrees, as some plays and stories are more personal than others are. A clear example of this is The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Miller uses the historical characters of John Proctor and Abigail Williams to represent the early stages of his relationship with Marilyn Monroe.
By the early 1950's, Miller had already established himself as a prominent writer, winning a Pulitzer Prize for his play Death of a Salesman in 1949. He had been married to Mary Grace Slattery for a decade, and the two had a family together, despite the fact that he was unhappy in the relationship. He met his future wife, Marilyn Monroe, in early 1951 while he was still married to Slattery. Although it is reported that the two were never intimate within the first year of their friendship/relationship, Monroe was supposedly very jealous of his marriage in the beginning. They were infatuated with each other from the start, Monroe more so than miller. Monroe would even go so far as to buy items or take in interest in people or events based on passing references that Miller made. (Spoto 186).
Miller was ten years older than Monroe, and her fascination with him was similar to that of a child-like crush. In a letter to him she wrote, "Most people can admire their fathers, I never had one. I need someone to admire," (Spoto 186).
Over the course of the next two years, Miller wrote and researched "The Crucible," a historical play based on the Salem Witch Trials. Although for the most part historically accurate, Miller took some liberty with dramatic license. For example, Miller changed the ages of the actual historical figures of John Proctor and Abigail. In the play Proctor is thought to be around forty years of age, and Abigail to be somewhere between 17 and 19.