In "The Crucible" what is Abigail Williams accused of?I understand she was accused of dancing in the woods & of having an affair with John Proctor. But I'd like to go into more detail and have...

In "The Crucible" what is Abigail Williams accused of?

I understand she was accused of dancing in the woods & of having an affair with John Proctor. But I'd like to go into more detail and have answers that haven't really been heard of yet. I've thought of jealousy, which is one of the seven deadly sins. She's jealous of Elizabeth because he loves her and wants to be with her. I think he just has a physical attraction to Abigail, & I don't think she likes that fact very much. So in order to get what she wants, she makes up lies about Elizabeth. But I think it's all because she's jealous of her. I'm just pretty much in a block & I can't think of anything. Help?

Expert Answers
mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Abigail's uncle, Reverend Parris, is the one who discovers her dancing; he asks her outright about it, and she admits to it.  However, later it comes out that she had a boiling pot on the fire, with a frog in it, so the accusation turns a bit more serious, to potential witchcraft.  She tries denying it, but then joins Tituba in passing blame on false "witches" in order to take the blame off of her.  Betty herself accuses Abigail of the truth, which was drinking "a charm to kill Goody Proctor," a charm that happened to be "chicken blood."    Abby doesn't deny that either, but threatens Betty and the others, telling them that if they do tell, she will bring "a pointy reckoning" against them.

In act three, she is accused of committing adultery with John; she denies it, and resorts to distracting tactics with the yellow bird scenario, in order to shift everyone's attention off of herself yet one more time.

Throughout all of these instances, she is guilty of jealousy, which drives a lot of her actions.  Also though, pay attention to how she manipulates people.  She can be accused of being a master manipulator.  She uses threats to keep the girls quiet about the charm, peer pressure to keep them accusing other people, and the threat of accusing them of witchcraft if they turn on her and tell the truth.  She knows how to manipulate other people and their fear to her advantage.  She also manipulates her uncle into believing her lies; she calls Goody Proctor a "gossiping liar" when he alludes to the affair, and evades all of his questioning.  She manipulates the courts into believing all of her accusations, even harming herself to get Elizabeth arrested.  She tries manipulating John, but he is the only one in the play that isn't phased by it; he sees through her vanity and lies.

So, along with the outright accusations of dancing, witchcraft and adultery, Abby can also be accused of jealousy, manipulation, and selfishness.  I hope that those thoughts helped; good luck!