In The Crucible, what are some quotes that show Abigail Williams is selfish and manipulative?
In The Crucible, we see that Abigail Williams is selfish and manipulative when she tries to guilt John Proctor into continuing their affair (“You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet! John, pity me, pity me!”). Abigail’s attempts to flatter John Proctor while subtly insulting his wife demonstrate her manipulative ability and selfishness.
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Abigail is extremely selfish. She looks out for her own needs only. She says to her friends in Act I:
Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about 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.
This threat demonstrates that Abby will go to any length, even abuse or murder to ensure that she alone is safe. She won't let her friends tell the truth lest she get caught for what they did.
One very simple phrase that helps demonstrate her selfishness occurs as she tries to convince him to continue having an adulterous relationship with her:
You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet! John, pity me, pity me!
She is imploring him to feel sorry for her. Selfish people seek this in others. She is asking him to give up his family to be with her.
All of these quotes are from Act 1, scene 2.
Abigail's manipulation comes out in her relationship with John Proctor. She demonstrates her cunning perception in these words to him:
I have a sense for heat, John, and yours has drawn me to my window, and I have seen you looking up, burning in your lonliness. Do you tell me that you've never looked up at my window?
In this moment, she gets him to admit his continued affection for her even though he is trying to repair his marriage from his previous affair with Abigail.
After using both imagery (sense for heat) and figurative language (burning in your lonliness), Abigail then attacks Elizabeth's character in an effort to persuade John to come back to her:
Oh, how I marvel how such a strong man may let such a sickly wife be -
Abigail compliment to John and slam to Elizabeth were both meant to manipulate him.
For more info on the characters in The Crucible, check out this interview with the cast of a theatrical production of the play:
Thank You So So Much...What About Two Quotes For Threatening ?
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