In act 1 of The Crucible, when Abigail is questioned by Reverend Hale, who does she blame?  What proof does she offer?

When Abigail is questioned by Reverend Hale in act 1 of The Crucible, she blames Tituba, her uncle's slave from Barbados. Abigail has been caught laughing multiple times during church service and claims that Tituba sends her spirits on her, causing her to laugh and disrupt the sermon. Abigail also uses Tituba's foreign Barbados songs and her reputation for contacting the dead as proof against her that she participates in witchcraft.

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In act 1, scene 1 of Arthur Miller's play about the Salem witch trials, The Crucible, Reverend Samuel Parris, Salem's minister for the past three years, says that he's sent for Rev. John Hale, a respected clergyman and reputed expert on witchcraft from the nearby village of Beverly. Reverend Parris sent for Reverend Hale to disprove that witchcraft—what Reverend Parris calls "unnatural causes"—had anything to do with his daughter's inability to wake up, for which the local doctor, Doctor Griggs, says there's no medical explanation.

In calling for Reverend Hale to come to Salem, Reverend Parris is concerned not only for his daughter's condition but for his own standing in the community. Reverend Parris is not particularly well-liked, and he's afraid that the people of Salem might use Betty's condition against him, particularly if it's found that Betty's inability to wake up is due to "unnatural causes."

Reverend Hale arrives later in the scene, and he interviews a number of Salem's townspeople, including Reverend Parris's seventeen-year-old niece, Abigail Williams, who confirms Reverend Parris's worst fear, which Reverend Hale supports rather than dispels.

It was Reverend Parris himself who brought Abigail to Reverend Hale's attention by mentioning that he saw "my niece and ten or twelve other girls, dancing in the forest last night." In order to avoid punishment for her dancing in the woods, Abigail casts suspicion of witchcraft and devil worship on Tituba, Reverend Parris's forty-year-old house slave from Barbados.

Abigail's "proof" of Tituba's witchcraft is that Tituba made Abigail drink blood, which Tituba confirmed was chicken blood after Mrs. Putnam interjected that the blood might be the blood of her dead children.

Reverend Hale asks Tituba if she's sent her spirit out on Betty, which prompts Abigail to claim, "She sends her spirit on me in church" and makes her laugh during prayers. Reverend Parris confirms that Abigail often laughs during prayers, which essentially "proves" Abigail's accusation.

Abigail raises the seriousness of her accusations against Tituba by claiming, "She comes to me every night to go and drink blood" and saying that "she's always making me dream corruptions." Abigail says that when she sleeps she hears Tituba laughing and "singing her Barbados songs," which is sufficient "proof" for Reverend Hale to command Tituba to wake Betty from her stupor.

Having set the wheels of suspicion against Tituba in motion, Abigail simply waits for her next opportunity to cast suspicion on others and away from herself. It's not long before Tituba tries to save herself by accusing others of witchcraft, to which Abigail adds her voice and increases the level of hysteria, which results in the fragmentation of the Salem community and the death of innocent Salem townspeople.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 23, 2020
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In act 1, Reverend Hale begins questioning Abigail Williams about the mysterious events that transpired the previous night and which have adversely affected Betty and Ruth's health and incited rumors of witchcraft throughout the community. When Reverend Hale asks if Abigail called upon the devil, Abigail places the blame on Tituba, her uncle's slave from Barbados. Abigail recognizes Tituba as the perfect scapegoat because of her background, lowly social status, and reputation for speaking with the dead. By placing the blame on Tituba, Abigail distracts attention from her own transgressions and avoids being punished for dancing in the woods. She also knows that Tituba is voiceless and defenseless against her accusations.

Abigail proceeds to tell Reverend Hale that Tituba made her drink blood and offers proof by accusing Tituba of sending her spirit on her at church to make her laugh during sermons. Abigail understands that Reverend Parris will confirm her story, as she has often been caught laughing during sermons, which further supports her testimony against Tituba. Abigail also comments that Tituba makes her "dream corruptions" and testifies that she can hear Tituba singing her strange Barbados songs. Given Tituba's lowly social status and reputation for contacting the dead, she becomes the easy scapegoat and begins blaming innocent people to avoid being executed.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 22, 2020
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Abigail blames Tituba, Reverend Parris's Barbadian slave, for Betty Parris's and Ruth Putnam's strange illnesses.  She knows that her uncle, the reverend, saw Tituba chanting and swaying in the woods, and she knows that Mrs. Putnam believes that Tituba has the ability to conjure spirits, so it won't strain anyone's credulity to hear Abigail accuse the slave of witchcraft.  As a slave, and as a woman, there are two strikes against Tituba; she is powerless and suspect already.  By way of proof, Abigail claims that Tituba made her drink blood.  She also says that Tituba sent her spirit to Abigail at church, and that she made Abigail laugh during prayer (a fact that Parris confirms).  Further, Abigail says that Tituba bewitches her in the middle of the night so that Abigail awakens naked, having heard Tituba laughing and singing her songs from Barbados. 

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In Act I, when Hale pressures Abigail for an answer to who was practicing witchcraft,Abigail blames Tituba for being a witch.  Abigail points at Tituba and says:

"She made me do it. She made Betty do it."

When Tituba denies this, Abigail goes further with the accusations saying that Tituba sends her spirit out on her and makes her laugh at prayer.  Abigail even goes further to have the authorities believe her by saying that Tituba makes her "drink blood."  This is important because these accusations are easily believed about a slave woman from Barbados.   This starts the "snowball" effect of accusations of witchcraft because Tituba, out of fear, begins to name other townspeople as witches also.

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