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Where in The Crucible does it show Abigail powerless?I know in the beginning of the...

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pitchingbean910 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 13, 2012 at 10:23 PM via web

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Where in The Crucible does it show Abigail powerless?

I know in the beginning of the book it shows that Abigail has a reputation of being a good girl, I just dont know where that quote is. PLEASE HELP! 

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

Posted November 13, 2012 at 11:17 PM (Answer #1)

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In the beginning of The Crucible, Abigail is an orphan. She is looked down upon by society. She has no clout. She does not have the respect of the community. People are talking about her and insinuating that she has been involved with John Proctor. Her name has been blackened by the community.

Also, people of the community have a different opinion of children during the Witch Trials:

We also learn something about Salem’s attitude toward children. Miller tells us that Paris, “like the rest of Salem, never conceived that the children were anything but thankful for being permitted to walk straight, eyes slightly lowered, arms at the sides, and mouths shut until bidden to speak.” This is important because it leads us to believe that the children would welcome a respite from such a strict life, as well as a bit of attention from the adults of the town.

 

When her Uncle Parris finds Abigail and the other girls dancing, some naked, in the woods, she realizes she is in trouble. She had to shift the blame from herself to someone else. Therefore, she begins to blame Tituba, a slave who has less respect than Abigail.

During the time of the Witch Trials, children and young adults were forbidden to speak or even address an adult. They had no rights. They were considered children. They held their heads down when adults confronted them.

When Reverend Parris finds Abigail and the other girls in the woods, Abigail has to create a plan to increase her power. When Abigail begins to see certain adults believing that witchcraft is the cause of what the girls have done, she recognizes the opportunity to shift the blame to someone else, even if that means accusing innocent people of witchcraft.   

When the court officials begin to believe Abigail, she takes advantage of the moment. She begins a pretense that gives her power over innocent people. Abigail remains powerful throughout the drama. She uses her influence to sentence innocent people to hanging. 

Things change by Act IV. Abigail has been exposed as a fraud. She begins losing her powerful control. When John Proctor will not run away with her, Abigail flees. She runs away because she began to fear that the court officials were doubting her. She became powerless in the end. She realizes her deceit could not continue. She becomes powerless. She could not manipulate John Proctor any longer so she abandoned her position as leader of the girls' pretense. After stealing her Uncle Parris's money, Abigail boards a ship that will take her far away from Salem. 

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

Posted November 13, 2012 at 11:32 PM (Answer #2)

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To answer your question about the quote, it is found in Act One of The Crucible. It can be found in the converstation between Abigail and John Proctor of Act One. 

ABIGAIL: She’s only gone silly, somehow. She’ll come out of it.
PROCTOR: So she flies, eh? Where are her wings?
ABIGIAL: (With a nervous laugh.) Oh, John, sure you’re not believin’ she flies!
PROCTOR: The road past my house is a pilgrimage to Salem all morning. The town’s mumbling witchcraft.
ABIGAIL: Oh, posh!—We were dancin’ in the woods last night, and my uncle leaped in on us. She took fright, is all.
PROCTOR: (His smile widens. Crossing to door.) Dancin’ by moonlight! (Abigail springs into his path.) You’ll be clapped in the stocks before you’re twenty.
ABIGAIL: (Barring his way at door.) Give me a word, John. A soft word.
PROCTOR: I come to see what mischief your uncle’s brewin’ now. Put it out of mind, Abby.
ABIGAIL: John—I am waitin’ for you every night.
PROCTOR: Abby, you’ll put it out of mind. I’ll not be comin’ for you more. You know me better.
ABIGAIL: I know how you clutched my back behind your house and sweated like a stallion whenever I come near! I saw your face when she put me out and you loved me then and you do now!
PROCTOR: (Taking her hands.) Child…
ABIGAIL: (With a flash of anger. Throwing his hands off.) How do you call me child!
PROCTOR: (As 3 or 4 persons off-stage begin a quiet chant—a psalm or hymn.) Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I’ll ever reach for you again. Wipe it out of mind—(Takes her arms.) we never touched, Abby.
ABIGAIL: (With a bitter anger.) Oh, I marvel how such a (Beating her fists against his chest.) strong man may let such a sickly wife be…
PROCTOR: (Coldly. Grabbing her wrists.) You’ll speak nothin’ of Elizabeth!
ABIGAIL: She is blackening my name in the village! She is telling lies about me! She is a cold sniveling woman and you bend to her! Let her turn you like a…?
PROCTOR: (Shakes her.) Do you look for whippin’!
ABIGAIL: (Shakes free.) You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is you love me yet! (He turns abruptly to go out. She rushes to door, blocks it.) John, pity me, pity me!

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