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What is Abigail's motivation in "The Crucible"?

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cloatman | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 4, 2008 at 9:27 AM via web

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What is Abigail's motivation in "The Crucible"?

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cybil | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted November 4, 2008 at 9:46 AM (Answer #1)

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Abigail and John Proctor had an affair when she worked for the Proctors, and she believes that John loves her. In her mind if she can get rid of Elizabeth Proctor, she can become John's wife. This angle is one of her motivations.

Her other motivation is her need to control. When the girls are caught in the woods and Betty Parris fakes a catatonic state, Abigail has to come up with some explanation for what has caused it. The men accuse Tituba of witchcraft when it becomes clear that the girls were engaged in a ritual led by her. Tituba, of course, pleads that she did only what the girls asked, but when she is threatened with death, she confesses and even names others involved with the Devil, once other names are suggested. Abigail sees how much attention Tituba is receiving and perversely wants that concentration directed to herself; she has a need to control others, and she is successful. As the play unfolds, she will control the girls' behavior as well as that of most of the adults'.

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