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What does Abigail say that leads Parris, Putnam, and Mrs. Putnam to believe Betty is...

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user3620659 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 15, 2013 at 11:33 PM via web

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What does Abigail say that leads Parris, Putnam, and Mrs. Putnam to believe Betty is bewitched?

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 16, 2013 at 12:03 AM (Answer #1)

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The challenge here is that Abigail ends up conveying different things to different people.  Part of her ability to expertly manipulate rests in her ability to know her audience.  It is important to note that Abigail never really says that Betty is bewitched.  She is more concerned with how to spin it to others.  For instance, Abigail convinces Parris that it is best for him to acknowledge himself the presence of the devil in Salem.  Parris initially objects because he is afraid that people will associate him with witchcraft.  Yet, Abigail coolly tells him that if he is able to initiate the discussion of people being bewitched and under the devil's spell in Salem, they will believe him.  Both Putnams recognize that what Abigail says can help their own causes.  Mr. Putnam understands that the accusations of witchcraft can help advance his agenda of seeking to control all the land in Salem, and Mrs. Putnam understands that the accusations of witchcraft can allow her to publicly blame someone for the death of her children.  Abgail knows what to say to different people in order to advance her own agenda.  It is this trait that becomes vital in both the development of her characterization and the plot of the drama.

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