How is Abigail portrayed in Act 1 of "The Crucible"? Use textual evidence to support your claim.

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Jessica Akcinar eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In act 1 of The Crucible, Abigail Williams is portrayed as a "strikingly beautiful girl" of seventeen with the ability to disguise the truth about everything. She blatantly lies about what she and the other girls were doing in the forest, "we never conjured spirits," and blames everyone for the mischief but herself when confronted with the truth, "Not I, sir-Tituba and Ruth." She is also a great actress, "She is enraptured, as if in a pearly light," when she finally confesses to witchery and begs for God's forgiveness.

Although she is an orphan and must work to help support herself, she has an air of superiority about her, "she hates me...for I would not be her slave...They want slaves, not such as I."

Abigail is also portrayed as a cruel bully, "I'll beat you, Betty...I say shut it, Mary Warren," who intimates others to do as she says, "I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down!"

Finally, Abigail is depicted as a flirt and a home-wrecker when she comes on to John Proctor, "John- I'm waitin' for you every night."

Though the audience may feel slightly sorry for Abigail, "I saw Indians smash my dear parents' heads on the pillow next to mine," her deceit and cruelty cannot be overlooked.

morrol eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act 1 of "The Crucible," Abigail is portrayed as a mischievous and selfish girl who would to anything in order to get what she wants. Abigale drinks chicken blood in a ritualistic manner in order to curse Elizabeth Proctor. In  puritan society, this behavior is startlingly sinful. This behavior suggests that Abigale is not particularly concerned with the social standards of the rest of her town.

Abigale also names Goody Osborne as a witch. This points to Abigale's selfish nature. In order to avoid persecution, Abigale places blame on somebody else.