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In The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, how is Abigail Williams presented as the...

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noconnectionwse | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted November 10, 2011 at 6:32 AM via web

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In The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller, how is Abigail Williams presented as the evil force in the play?

this is about the play overall, as a whole.

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appletrees | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted November 11, 2011 at 9:00 AM (Answer #1)

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Abigail wants revenge on John Proctor because he decided to end their extramarital affair. She channels her petty desire for retribution into an attack on his wife, accusing her of being a witch and trafficking with the devil. Abby knows that her actions could well result in Elizabeth's death or at least imprisonment, but is so blinded by her own jealousy and desire that she doesn't consider the impact of her lies. She also manages to get the other girls to play the game along with her, threatening to expose or accuse them if they resist. This behavior is at the heart of the travesty of justice that characterizes the Salem Witch Trials: selfish emotions were at the heart of many of the accusations, and Abigail's manipulation of the court magistrates and the community were, in Miller's portrayal, the main cause of the madness. But Miller is making a point about the actual historical events, and the fact that the accusations against those who were executed came from the young servant girls in the village who felt a sense of disempowerment.


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