Describe the relationship between Proctor and Abigail in the The Crucible.  Please include some character traits of each.  

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literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The relationship between John Proctor and Abigail Williams, in Arthur Miller's play The Crucible, is conflicted. While readers (or watchers) of the play come to find out that they had an affair, the dialogue and actions seen "in the present" (regarding the current action of the play) is quite different than one may have expected to see.

John Proctor is quite stern. His home is run with precision, and he accepts his role as the man of the house easily. Although he did find some trouble with his marriage prior to the play's beginning (per the affair), one can see that he has accepted his sin and is trying to move forward for the betterment of both his home and his community.

Abigail, on the other hand, is treacherous. It seems that the only thing she tells the truth about is the affair with John. That said, she lies repeatedly, threatens, and steals (Parris' money and leaves Salem). She is not a woman to be trusted.

The relationship, therefore, is very explosive. Abigail still desires John, but he wants nothing to do with her. While John looks at life very realistically, Abigail does not. She wants John, and whatever she has to do to get him will be done at any cost.

favoritethings's profile pic

favoritethings | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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The relationship between John Proctor and Abigail Williams is tense.  From their conversation in Act One, it is obvious that Abigail still very much desires John and wants to be with him.  However, while he also admits that he "may think of [her] softly from time to time" and that he "may have looked up" at her window at night, he is adamant that he will never touch her again.  He has remaining feelings for her, but is determined to resist them at all cost.  Abigail hates Elizabeth, John's wife, and all of the intense feelings between them boil up and bubble over: she yells about her hatred of Elizabeth, he shakes her and threatens to whip her, and she cries about her disillusionment with Salem in the wake of their affair.

Abigail is persistent, but John is resolute.  He is determined to be faithful to his wife now, to deny the temptation that Abigail presents, and Abigail is determined to convince him, by whatever means necessary, that he should be with her: she flirts, she cajoles, she cries, she maligns Elizabeth.  To no avail.  The more she attempts to manipulate him, the more he remains firm.

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