Describe Abigail's reaction to the revelation of the events in the wood and analyse her behaviour.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Abigail is very astute when it comes to the issue of human nature. She clearly understands how to manipulate people to her advantage. Her reaction to the revelation of what happened in the woods reflects this. She is not wired to simply accept truth. Rather, she creates misdirection. The concoction of the witchcraft story is how she reacts to the revelation of events in the woods. Abigail insists on the presence of witches in Salem because she is keenly aware that this is what will cause fear in the citizens. In creating this fear, Abigail's own actions as well as what the girls were doing in the woods would be placed in another context. People would not focus on the girls' behavior as much as the fear of witches. Abigail's reaction to what happened in the woods and what people would do precipitates this construction.

Abigail's reaction to the events in the woods is a direct reflection of how politics plays a role in human behavior. Her conduct is not done in conjunction with the truth. It is a construction of what can be done to consolidate her power. Her behavior is not motivated by truth or honor, as much as power. She wants the power which will give her Proctor, social acceptance, and control of the group. Her reaction to the revelation of the events in the wood is a direct extension of these motivations. In constructing the stories of witchcraft and initiating the process of hysteria in Salem, Abigail demonstrates a darker side to human nature. She showcases a behavior that is not aligned with collective notions of the good, but rather driven by the need to control and exercise power over others.