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Why does Abigail Williams accuse people of at the end of Act I of "The...

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moonatefeh | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 13, 2008 at 9:05 PM via web

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Why does Abigail Williams accuse people of at the end of Act I of "The Crucible"?

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 13, 2008 at 10:06 PM (Answer #1)

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Abigail Williams is a smart girl.  She uses her wits and ability to manipulate people in this society where everyone is scared to death of what they don't know to get what she wants.  However, her plan backfires on her.  What she wants is John Proctor.  So, she and several other girls in the community (who are both afraid of and in need of acceptace from Abigail) cover up their activities in the forest by saying that Tituba consorts with the Devil and she made them do it, too.  All of a sudden, Abigail notices the power she gets by the results...as well as the attention...and she gets the idea to accuse Elizabeth Proctor of being a witch.  This will work, as Abigail knows, since Abigail says Elizabeth has been sending needles to her abdomen. Abigail uses her knowledge of the doll Mary Warren has been working on for Elizabeth and the fact that Mary stores her needle in the doll.  So, evidence of the truth of what Abigail is saying is in Elizabeth's own house.  However, it backfires on her when John Proctor goes to superhuman lengths to protect his wife and prove her innocence which causes his own death.

Abigail accuses people at first to protect herself from being cast as a witch when they were caught in the forest at night.  However, she continues accusing people to get what she wants. Unfortunately for John, the plan outlines his demise.

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