Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Abigail Williams, a strikingly beautiful seventeen-year-old. She is willful and a flirt. Her rebellion against society is expressed in her wayward behavior, which she transforms into a witch scare by going into fits and stimulating and coercing her girlfriends to do likewise. Abigail senses that the community of Salem, Massachusetts, is uneasy, that it suffers from societal tensions, and that it is prepared to believe that its internal divisions are the result of witchcraft. Abigail and her minions charge many of the most prominent people in Salem with practicing witchcraft.
Tituba, a black servant from Barbados who introduces Abigail and her friends to certain superstitious practices. It is her confession that leads to the witchcraft scare.
The Reverend Samuel Parris
The Reverend Samuel Parris, a stiff, intolerant man who is at first nonplussed by the eccentric behavior of the girls. Soon, however, he turns their antics into an indictment of the community. Interpreting their hysterical fits as sure signs of witchcraft, he exploits them to whip his congregation into line. Finding the witches becomes a way for this pious and credulous man to assert his authority.
John Proctor, a man who had a brief affair with Abigail. He does not believe that her fits are caused by the devil. Although he is estranged from his wife, who...
(The entire section is 488 words.)
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