The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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What are the direct and indirect characterizations of Abigail Williams in Arthur Miller's The Crucible?

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Direct characterization is when a character's personality, appearance, or behaviors are explicitly described. In regards to Arthur Miller's classic play The Crucible, Abigail Williams is directly characterized in act 3 when John Proctor exposes her in front of Salem's authority figures. When Abigail turns the tables and begins to act like Mary Warren's spirit will attack her, John Proctor interrupts by shouting,

How do you call Heaven! Whore! Whore! (Miller, 112)

Calling Abigail a whore is an example of direct characterization and describes her promiscuous behavior. Danforth is astonished by John's accusation and listens as Proctor confesses to committing adultery with Abigail. After admitting to lechery, John once again utilizes direct characterization by telling Danforth,

My wife, my dear good wife, took this girl soon after, sir, and put her out on the highroad. And being what she is, a lump of vanity, sir.... (Miller, 113)

John's explicit description of Abigail as a "lump of vanity" is also...

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