What is Abigail's role in the outbreak of witchcraft in Salem in The Crucible by Arthur Miller? In what ways do her attitudes and role change over the course of the play?  

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, Abigail functions as one of the antagonists to John Proctor, who is the protagonist of the play. Before the opening of the first act, Abigail worked as a servant for the Proctor family and had an affair with John Proctor; this is particularly heinous, as Proctor is a minister and is held to a higher standard than his congregation.

When the girls are discovered dancing naked in the woods, at first Abigail is adamant that they should not say that they were engaging in witchcraft, taking a skeptical position about witchcraft itself. Despite admitting to Proctor that no witchcraft was involved, Abigail gradually begins to see the advantages that would accrue to her not only by pretending to believe in witchcraft, but also in pretending to be a victim of witchcraft, and using that pretense to take her revenge on Proctor and this family, and be a center of attention. 

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