The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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Abigail Williams Quotes

In The Crucible, what are some quotes that show Abigail Williams is selfish and manipulative?

In The Crucible, we see that Abigail Williams is selfish and manipulative when she tries to guilt John Proctor into continuing their affair (“You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet! John, pity me, pity me!”). Abigail’s attempts to flatter John Proctor while subtly insulting his wife demonstrate her manipulative ability and selfishness.

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Abigail is a young girl in Puritan Salem, and she lies in order to protect herself. One way to pull textual evidence showing how she is manipulative is to find examples of these lies.

When the play opens, Parris is worried about his daughter, Betty, who is in a comatose state. He questions his niece Abigail about what happened when he caught them dancing in the woods. At first, Abigail denies any witchcraft:

We did dance, Uncle, and when you leaped out of the bush so suddenly, Betty was frightened and then she fainted. And there‘s the whole of it.

Soon after the Putnams enter, claiming their daughter Ruth is witched and that Tituba can speak to the dead. With these new claims, Abigail changes her story:

PARRIS: Then you were conjuring spirits last night.
ABIGAIL: Not I, sir, not I—Tituba and Ruth.

Abigail tells lies in order to protect herself, but changes her words when it seems to benefit her. When she sees that the tale of witchcraft is taking hold of the town, she goes along with it....

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