Identify similarities between Macbeth and Abigail Williams.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both characters are driven by ambition.  Macbeth's ambition is to be king.  Abigail's ambition is to be the center of focus in Salem and to keep Proctor for himself.  For both, there are extrinsic benefits to their ambitious drive.  Macbeth covets power and control.  Abigail covets being socially powerful enough to manipulate people in Salem and to imprison Elizabeth.  Finally, a similarity between both is that they are fundamentally cruel in their ambitious drive for power.  Both of them do not spare anything in destroying those that they perceive to being in the way of their drive.

In another sense, a similarity between both Macbeth and Abigail is that they are both driven by forces deep within them.  Extrinsic benefits aside, there are internal forces at their base.  Macbeth's is Lady Macbeth.  Where he lacks the full authenticity to do what he needs to do, Lady Macbeth goads, cajoles, and envisions him doing what he lacks the ability to do.  Abigail is driven by the demons of her own upbringing.  Seeing her parents killed and not being able to experience anything in terms of redemptive emotions or nurturing have helped to create a being that can only see people as means to an end.  Abigail is also driven by her misplaced desire for Proctor, whom she covets sexually and also as a type of father figure.  These forces are at play with her desire to power and are as subterranean as Macbeth's wife exerting a powerful force on him.