In "The Crucible" what reasons does Abigail give Parris for her discharge as the Proctors' servant?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In act one, Reverend Parris chastises Abigail for dancing in the woods with the other girls and fears that his position of authority will be threatened once word spreads throughout town that his niece has been involved in conjuring spirits in the wilderness. Reverend Parris then questions Abigail's reputation and asks her if there was any other reason why Elizabeth Proctor discharged her from her home. After mentioning that someone told him that Elizabeth Proctor refuses to attend church because she will not sit so close to Abigail, Abigail responds by saying,

"She hates me, uncle, she must, for I would not be her slave. It’s a bitter woman, a lying, cold, sniveling woman, and I will not work for such a woman!" (Miller, 13).

According to Abigail Williams, Goody Proctor is simply a bitter woman, who would only be satisfied with her if she worked like a slave, which is something Abigail refuses to do. Abigail insists that Goody Proctor demanded too much of her and is a gossiping liar. Later on, the audience discovers that Elizabeth discharged Abigail after she learned that her husband was having an affair with Abigail.

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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She states that it was Elizabeth who had some sort of vengeful hatred for her, and that was the only reason why.  She states, very angrily, to Parris, "She hates me uncle, she must, for I would not be her slave.  It's a bitter woman, a lying, cold, sniveling woman."  She hints that Elizabeth wanted a slave, not a servant, and tries to convince Parris that Elizabeth hated her.  However, it is Abby's hatred of Elizabeth that comes through more clearly.  It escalates as Abby ends by yelling-in a temper-"Good Proctor is a gossiping liar!"  All of the name-calling that Abby hurls at Elizabeth is pretty intense.  Later, we find out why; she is jealous of Elizabeth.  SHE wants to be married to John Proctor, instead of Elizabeth.  And the real reason that she was discharged from the Proctor household is because she had an affair with John, Elizabeth found out, and kicked her out of the house (as she should have).  Unfortunately, Abby's hatred for Elizabeth is a catalyst that creates most of the resulting disasters in the witch trials.

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