What are some quotes that show how Abigail Williams is a victim of her society in The Crucible?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In The Crucible, Abigail is a victim of the society that fails to help her recover from her parents' violent death.

Abigail does plenty wrong in The Crucible.  She demonstrates little hesitation in manipulating the truth and others in order to get her way.  However, in one of the first exchanges with the other girls, she displays a significant aspect to her characterization. Abigail is staying with her uncle, Reverend Parris, because of her parents' death.  It is clear that this was a very violent episode in her life.  When she has to wrangle the will of the other girls and stop them from confessing, Abigail threatens them with physical harm:   "And you know I can do it; I saw Indians smash my dear parents’ heads on the pillow next to mine, and I have seen some reddish work done at night, and I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down!"  Abigail experiences the psychological effects of violence.  The experience of her parents' death has lingered within her. To a certain extent, people in Salem are to blame for not understanding the effect this would have had on a child.  Abigail is a victim of this violence and is a victim to a social order that fails to account for this traumatic impact on her psychological development.  This does not excuse what she does. However, it does show that people such as Abigail are not "born" the way they are, but rather made through specific interactions.  

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