The following stories are inspired by The Crucible by Arthur Miller.
by Serene Appiah
Hello there, I am John Proctor. I’m a farmer and a landowner in Massachusetts Bay Colony. I’m married to Elizabeth Proctor, and I am the father of three boys. There’s been a terrible mistake. I have been accused of being something that I am not. A wizard. I truly never practiced witchcraft, yet I am being accused. When put at the center of such an unlawful accusation, the judges have left me with two choices. One, deny. Deny, deny, deny. I can stand up for myself and tell them that I never have, and never will practice witchcraft! Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? But of course, there is a flaw to this choice. If I deny the accusation, I will be hanged. The other choice is to confess. Confess to the judges that I indeed practice witchcraft. This will lead to a lesser punishment. But at what cost? I would be lying not only to the judges, but I would be lying to myself. And everybody else in Salem!
I bet you wonder how I got here in the first place. You see, my life isn’t the greatest. I have gotten into many fights since I’ve been in Salem. I’m seen to be more of a blunt, aggressive man. Many of those who have had problems with me came forward and spoke out. Mary and Abigail went ahead to say that my spirit was haunting people. When I first found out that I was being accused of witchcraft, I was angry. Livid, even. Mary and Abigail are just threatened by my power over them. And of course, just my luck, there are several things that can be used against me. It is now April 11th, and my wife and I were brought into court for an examination. On the way to the courthouse, we shared a few words:
“We will not get a fair trial in Salem, Elizabeth.”
She sighed, clearly distraught. “I am aware, John, but what else are we to do?”
I started to think very hard. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from the examination.
She started to weep. “We have a little one on the way, John. We can’t live without each other. Just confess so we can get out of this horrible mess.”
“I will not confess to something I did not do! My morals say otherwise.”
“The same morals you used when you had an affair?” she asked coldly. I looked at her in shock. We had agreed to never bring it up again.
“Elizabeth, please. Do not bring that up. I will not be confessing to things that I do not partake in.”
“Okay.” She turned away from me. Was she seriously that upset? I did not have time for this. She shook her head. “If you’d rather be hung than raise your own child, so be it! I will find a way out of this for myself.”
From then on, it was decided what my fate would be. The examination proved us guilty and sent us to be incarcerated in the Salem Jail. A few days later, I sat in jail, knowing that I was going to be hanged. I did not want to confess to doing something that I did not do. On my character, it looked horrific. Surely God would accept me for doing what I thought was right. Not lying to the judges. I wrote a letter to the ministers of Boston, pleading that we could get our trial pushed to a later date, and I explained the severe treatment we had all been receiving in order to give confessions. I never cracked, although I desperately wanted to at times. Despite my efforts, the ministers did not buy anything I had tried to sell. Before I go, I want to say I hope that Elizabeth finds peace.
John Proctor was hanged shortly after the events that took place. He believed that his legacy was the most important thing, so he decided to tell the truth, and honor that legacy. Now his children will continue to grow up without a father in their lives, but they will soon learn that he did this for them.
by Yohanes Conte
My name is John Proctor. This past week has been quite the nightmare, and it was as if my whole world was hanging in the balance of a single decision. I come from the quaint little town of Salem, Massachusetts. The year is 1692 and life is as ordinary as it is bleak, but that would all change due to some little rascals that accused me and others of being witches. Never would I have thought it would escalate to what it had eventually become. I have been given one of two options: death or to lie about being a witch. Both are unruly, but life as a sinner is none like that of a saint. I must do what I believe to be right.
Late on one Thursday evening was when I first heard the news.
“Confess or be condemned.” There was something in the air, not just paranoia and greed, but the disappointment that spread from the reaches of every man and woman who understood that this would leave a permanent mark on this town for centuries to come. The first person I had to inform was my dear wife Elizabeth. I asked her, “ What should I do ?”
She responded, “Life should be preserved over morality.” So she did what she had to do to uphold our reputation, and her words were a comfort like a pillow to my ears. Through thick and thin, we eventually came to the decision that we should knowingly stand in front of the consequences before these accusations with our heads held high. And not sign the confession, for it was untrue.
My life given may have saved many more and might be a symbol to end this tragedy. Retaining my name without tarnish is very important; denouement from a man of honor may turn the tide of the Salem witch trials, and hopefully shall bring them to an end. On August 19, 1692, I was hanged, and my life came to an end, but my legacy lives on. Remembering past mistakes led me to who I am now. My journey shall inspire others. Like a seed in the wind or life on a rock. My final moments shared the sight of sore eyes seeing my wife for the last time, and as the dawn of my last breath came, I exclaimed “I have given you my soul; leave me my name!”
by Azariah Jimenez
John Proctor, my time with him was like no other. It started out as an innocent crush, nothing more. Then, out of nowhere, it came to secret meet-ups and lies. I fell so deeply in love with this man that I would do anything to make him mine. Sadly, it was not as easy as I wished it to be because this man that I loved, was married. And unfortunately for me, all good things come to an end. When his wife found out, I was sure that he would choose me. Painfully, the man that I had come to love so deeply left me without so much as a goodbye. I needed him, I would do anything to get him back, even if it meant killing his wife. That’s when I found out about witchcraft and someone that knew how to do it. My aunt, a slave from Barbados, had to know how, so I begged and begged for her to help. When she finally said yes, I was elated. To make it less suspicious of my true plans, I invited my closest friends. I told them that she could help them get any man they wanted, and they believed it. The night came when we were doing the ritual, it was coming to an end and we were spotted. We tried to run as fast as we could but my cousin Betty was unable to move. Coincidentally, there was another young girl in town who was having the same problem. When people started to hear that two young girls were sick and unresponsive at the same time, they got scared.
The town started to suspect witchcraft, because what other logical explanation could there be? When the town heard about suspicions about witchcraft, my uncle was expected to handle it, as he was the head priest of Salem. Because he did not have much experience with witchcraft, he decided to have a reverend from Beverly, Massachusetts, to help in the trials. As more and more people were suspected and hung, more stories about us dancing in the woods were brought up. In attempts to save ourselves, we told the court that we had been seeing the spirits of people do bad things. But the time came when we had to choose ourselves or the ones we love. Mary Warren, a friend, and maid of my beloved John Proctor accused him of witchcraft. She had done it to try to make his words invalid to the court because he had been telling them that we were full of lies. After everything I have done for this man, he continues to let me down. After trying to reason with him, he becomes infuriated. In anger, he told the court about our affair. I stand there in shock as he tells the court about the things we have done, along with telling them that I am putting on an act out of jealousy for his wife.
When people found out about the affair, it was like everyone hated me. All throughout the court, I could hear the murmurs of the crowd: “Disgusting, homewrecker, disappointment.” What hurt the most was the look of rage on my uncle’s face when he heard these horrible stories. I would not take it. What if they did to me what they have done to all the others? What if I am hung? I was the reason those people had died, but I will not.
When my good friend Mercy and I snuck into my uncle’s house, she whispered, “Abigail, what are we doing here?”
“We are getting money then leaving this place,” I replied back. As we walked into his bedroom I said, “ I will keep watch, you grab all the money.”
She quickly grabbed all the money from the box. “I’ve got it,” she announced. We ran out of the house as quickly as we could.
“Where will we go now?” Mercy asked. I had not thought of this, where would we go? Maybe Charleston? No, that was too close. Maybe we could leave the state? Wait, but what if they come looking for us in revenge? I was out of ideas until I remembered. In excitement I blurted out, “There is a ship leaving for Barbados at sunrise tomorrow.”
“Perfect, let us go there now to speak with the captain about letting us on!” she exclaimed.
On our way to the shipping docks, we passed the jail. I could not help but think about him. I stopped and stared at the entrance. As I stood there I whispered, “He told people, he made me an outcast; he doesn’t deserve my help.”
Just then I ran inside. I bribed the guard to let me see him; lucky it didn’t cost too much. When I opened the door, my heart sank to the floor. He was bruised, cut up, and looked half dead. “John, they are going to take you away in the morning. But, I found a ship that was going to Barbados. I have enough to pay for us to go,” I said frantically. He stared, not at me, but at the wall. He would not even look me in the eye. “I never wanted this for you. All I ever wanted was to have you to myself. Please come with me, John, or we may never see each other again.”
As those last words left my lips, John looked me in the eyes. “We will see each other again,” he hisses “In hell.” I stepped back, almost slipping, and ran out. The next morning Mercy and I boarded the ship. I took a deep breath as I look at Salem one last time before it dissipated into the morning fog.
When we got to Barbados I was amazed as it was very different then Salem. It was warm, yet raining. There were many people from England here; you could tell by their accents. As I walked off the boat, I started to remember everything Mercy and I must do. We needed food, a place to stay, clothes, and a bath; there was so much to do.
“Listen Mercy there is a lot to do, so we need to focus.” I demanded.
“Right,” she exclaimed.
I pondered, “We should probably start by finding a job.”
Just then an older man came up and said, “I could help but overhear that you lovely young ladies are looking for a job.”
“What kind of job?” I wondered.
“Well, at the moment I am looking for two maids. Is that something you are interested in?”
I thought to myself, is this a good idea? How do I know he won’t try to hurt us? But then again, where were we going to get another job opportunity like this? Finally, after long and hard thinking, we agreed to work for him. We found that he lives in a big house with his wife, his two daughters, and five sons. Luckily for us, most of them did not make too much of a mess. But his youngest son, on the other hand, was the worst to clean up after. But in the end, it was all worth it. After living in their house for a while, Mercy and I were finally able to move out and get a house of our own. We bought something small yet cozy. I still work for them to this day. Sometimes I think about the people back home. Like my uncle or Betty and John’s wife and kids. I wonder how life would have been so different if we had never danced in the woods that day. But we have made a good life here. I am happy and I am free to be who I am. And that is all I could ever ask for.
by Soul Mendez
Hello, my name is John Proctor. I am the husband of Elizabeth Proctor, and I am a farmer. I’ve recently come under fire for an accusation of being a witch. This all started when I made an assumption about a group of girls and said some things that I shouldn’t have. This then led to my maid being accused of being a witch, and she then accused me of being a wizard to save herself. I only have a couple of days to figure all of this out. I was told that if I signed a confession, I wouldn’t be hanged. However, I’d be lying, and is it really worth dying just because of my pride?
Even so, maybe I’m not such a lost cause. What if there’s still a way to prove my innocence? I can try to convince my maid, Abigail, to admit my innocence. I know that she’s in love with me, so maybe she’ll be willing to help me. “Abigail, please. We both don’t want me to die, and you’re my only hope. If you could just admit it,” I begged.
“Why don’t we just run away together and have a fresh start? ” asked Abigail.
“Don’t be foolish. I love my wife, and I’m never going to make such a grand error like that again out of respect for her.”
“Then I guess you’ll just rot in hell, you witch,” Abigail said furiously. “I guess then, and only then, will we meet again.” I guess now I have no choice but to sign the confession if I wish to survive.
Fast-forward, and it’s now the day for me to decide. I think I’m going to sign the confession.
“So which will it be? Will you finally confess to your sins or would you prefer to die? “asked Judge Danforth.
“I am an innocent man. I can assure you of that. But alas, I am also human, and if it’s the only way to survive, then I guess there isn’t much of a choice here is there?”
I signed the confession, but I won’t stop fighting for my justice. Eventually, an incident occurred which helped me get my innocence back. Everyone in Salem was starting to get accused of being witches to the point where everyone stopped believing them. From that point on, my confession was ripped, and I received a formal apology from Judge Danforth himself for not believing in me. Along with everyone else who went through the same. And this is the story of my life.