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A NOTE ON THE HISTORICAL ACCURACY OF THIS PLAY
This play is not history in the sense in which the word is used by the academic
historian. Dramatic purposes have sometimes required many characters to be fused into
one; the number of girls involved in the “crying-out” has been reduced; Abigail’s age
has been raised; while there were several judges of almost equal authority, I have
symbolized them all in Hathorne and Danforth. However, I believe that the reader will
discover here the essential nature of one of the strangest and most awful chapters in
human history. The fate of each character is exactly that of his historical model, and
there is no one in the drama who did not play a similar - and in some cases exactly the
same - role in history.
As for the characters of the persons, little is known about most of them excepting
what may be surmised from a few letters, the trial record, certain broadsides written at
the time, and references to their conduct in sources of varying reliability. They may
therefore be taken as creations of my own, drawn to the best of my ability in conformity
with their known behavior, except as indicated in the commentary I have written for this
text.
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