What are Abigail's strengths and weaknesses in The Crucible?

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Abigail Williams is a young girl in Salem, but she is the character who drives most of the action in the play. It appears that Abigail is the main reason the girls met in the woods with Tituba, and she has also had an affair with John Proctor. These two...

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Abigail Williams is a young girl in Salem, but she is the character who drives most of the action in the play. It appears that Abigail is the main reason the girls met in the woods with Tituba, and she has also had an affair with John Proctor. These two events incite much of the action in The Crucible. Abigail is portrayed as a villain in many productions and readings of The Crucible, but there are redeeming (or, at least, sympathetic) aspects to her character that can be better explored.

Abigail's weaknesses are fairly obvious. Throughout the course of the play, Abigail lies, manipulates, and unfairly accuses others. In many ways, Abigail is presented as the foil to Elizabeth. Abigail is filled with repressed desires while Elizabeth is driven by devotion and maturity.

There are aspects to Abigail that can be seen as positive. This is particularly true if you take into account the age of Abigail. She is young, a teenager at best, and her emotions are wild and uncontrolled. This is true of many teenagers, but Abigail happens to find herself in a situation that allows her negative qualities to run rampant. In another context, some of these negative qualities could be viewed as positive. She is cunning, emotionally intelligent, and charismatic. These qualities could easily be viewed as positive if she existed in a different time, place, and body.

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