Offer examples from "The Crucible" of an act with a quote where Abigail is manipulating or being the leader.

Expert Answers
davmor1973 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Abigail Williams is very skillful at manipulating people to get what she wants. In Act I, although John Proctor has put an end to their brief affair, Abigail knows that he still has feelings for her. And she plays on this, using a form of emotional blackmail to rekindle their relationship:

I look for John Proctor that took me from my sleep and put knowledge in my heart! I never knew what pretense Salem was, I never knew the lying lessons I was taught by all these Christian women and their covenanted men! And now you bid me tear the light out of my eyes? I will not, I cannot! You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!

We also see from this quotation that Abigail plays very much the leading role in her affair with John Proctor. Her roles of leader and arch-manipulator go together.

I am but God's finger, John. If he would condemn Elizabeth, she will be condemned.

Emotional blackmail having failed, Abigail sets out to destroy John's wife, Elizabeth. Only she hides behind God in carrying out her wicked revenge. Doing this makes it harder to challenge her. After all, if she's the instrument of God as she says she is, then how it is possible to contradict her? It's no longer enough for Abigail to play on people's emotions; she must now also manipulate their fervent belief in God to get her own way.

teacherscribe eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Late in Act I when Abigail is trying to manipulate the other girls into agreeing with her that all they did was dance in the woods, she tells them "Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, abou the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you."  Here she is basically threatening to kill the other girls if they reveal anything about her desire to have Tituba cast a spell to kill Goody Proctor so that she may replace her as John's wife.

Another example is in Act III when Abigail's character has been called into question by Judge Danforth, as a result of the claims of Mary Warren and John Proctor, Abigail even dares to threaten the judge, hoping to manipulate him into believing her rather than Mary and John.  She asks him "Let you beware, Mr. Danforth.  Think ou be to be so might that the power of Hell may not turn your wits?  Beware of it!"  She seems to be warning him that she may just accuse him of witch craft.

Read the study guide:
The Crucible

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question