The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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In The Crucible, how is Abigail able to control the girls?

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Abigail Williams, who is considered to be the primary antagonist of The Crucible, is the primary source of all of the woes that visit Salem. However, she is far from solely responsible for all the misery that unfolds over the play. Abigail is menacing and manipulative, but in this society, there is only so much that one person can do, let alone a young girl. Abigail manipulates many of the characters (who, in turn, manipulate even more) through fear. This threatening ranges from direct, such as threatening physical violence towards the other girls if they ever breathe a word of her machinations, to implied, as she charismatically threatens every aspect of John Proctor's life should the truth ever be revealed.

In the case of the girls, Abigail does not attempt any subtlety. She very directly threatens to kill them should they ever betray her. She alludes to killing them the way of the Indians and leaves very little of their fate to the imagination. The irony is that the girls could have easily...

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