Who Was Hanged at the End of “The Crucible”?

Mraz Center for the Performing Arts/CC-BY-2.0

At the end of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” protagonist John Proctor was hanged as a witch. Also hanged with him were Rebecca Nurse, Martha Corey and five others. While all three were hanged in real life as witches, their executions occurred on different days.

“The Crucible” is a fictionalized retelling of the Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692, during which 19 people were executed by hanging and one, Giles Corey, by pressing under stones. At least four more died in prison.

Miller’s retelling was an allegory and condemnation of McCarthyism. In 1956, Miller was one of the people called in front of the Committee on Un-American Activities. He was convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to name other Communists who attended meetings with him, ironically placing him in the John Proctor role.