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How is Abigail Williams a hypocrite  in The Crucible?When she says "I want the light...

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carissacriss | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 17, 2010 at 7:44 AM via web

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How is Abigail Williams a hypocrite  in The Crucible?

When she says "I want the light of God, I want the sweet love of Jesus...I go back to Jesus." at the end of Act 1, could this be an example of hypocrisy?  She is saying she loves God and follows him, but she really fuels the witch trials and is seen as a devil-like character, by blaming witchcraft on other women and so forth.  Is this correct?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 17, 2010 at 7:07 PM (Answer #1)

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You are absolutely correct in your assertions.  Your analysis is dead on because Abigail is invoking the name of the God or the divine to advance her own personal agenda. Her claims of witchcraft are fradualent as well as her desire to "Want to the light of God."  We see as early as Act I that she knows all of what is being said about witches and such is false and that she only covets John Proctor.  She shows little devotion to the divine, but is savvy enough to understand that her social order is theocratic, so in playing to it, she gains public support while being able to advance her own agenda.  The only modification I would suggest in your analysis is when you argue that Abigail is "seen" as devil- like character.  The only change I would feel here would be that Abigail is not really seen as a devil- like character as much as she acts as one.  The town believes her claims of others being a witch and this is something that happens as a result of her own perception of authenticity.  I think she is a "devil- like" character who is able to utilize the social order's faith and fear in the divine to advance her own agenda, making her a hypocrite.

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