The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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How much is Abigail to blame for the events that take place? Is she a victim of her society? What events in the past and present influence her behavior? Can she be excused or pardoned because outside forces "made" her the way she is? 

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Although teenagers probably had more adult responsibilities three centuries ago than they do today, Abigail is still a child. As an orphan who survived the horror of seeing her parents murdered, she most likely suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Rather than keeping the girl safe in his home, John Proctor sexually abused her and then threw her out in an effort to hide the abuse.

One of Arthur Miller 's impressive achievements is showing that no one person can be held more responsible than any other. Part of the problem was that no one was willing to be held accountable when things started to get out of hand. Miller deliberately makes Abigail a largely unsympathetic character whose changeable behavior points to severe psychological distress. Yet dozens of powerful adult men believe her! She does not merely cow her peers, such as the meek, timid Mary. She fools the most powerful men in the colony. Abigail ultimately escapes justice—and commits the crime of theft in the...

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