In The Crucible, what happened to Abigail when Elizabeth found out about the affair?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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When Elizabeth learns of the affair between her husband and Abigail, a couple of things happen.  The first is that Elizabeth dismisses Abigail of her job as housekeeper.  Elizabeth recognizes that her housekeeper is the source of the marital discord between she and her husband.  In this, dismissing her from her position is one element that transpires as a result of Elizabeth's understanding of the affair.  At the same time, a great deal of resentment develops in Abigail towards Elizabeth for her dismissal.  Abgiail ends up blaming Elizabeth for keeping her apart from John, something that she believes he wants, as well.  The result of this is Abigail's commissioning from Tituba a potion that will kill Elizabeth so that she can be with John.  The entire affair of the girls' dancing in the woods arises from this resentment and the actions that come out of it.  On a personal level, Elizabeth and John experience a breach in their marriage, something that prevents both of them from fully being able to restore the bond that is broken.  In this, Elizabeth's awareness of the extramarital relationship between both John and Abigail sets in motion a great many events in the drama.


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