What are some similarities and differences of Abigail Williams, from The Crucible and Daisy Buchanan, from The Great Gatsby.

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Daisy and Abigail are similar in that they are both greedy and selfish.  Daisy is unfaithful to her husband, having an affair with Gatsby; however, she then abandons Gatsby when she learns how he's made his fortune.  Further, she allows him to take the blame for the death of Myrtle Wilson, who she actually hit with Gatsby's car.  She takes as much as she can from him and then abandons him when he has nothing more to offer her.  Abigail is also greedy: she longs to have John Proctor, her former lover, to herself, and she doesn't care who else is hurt.  She begins the hysteria in the town of Salem, hysteria that leads to the deaths of dozens of innocents, all so that she can remove Proctor's wife and anyone else she doesn't like.  Then, realizing that she cannot have him, she abandons Salem to sink further into corruption.  Both women allow innocent people to die in pursuit of their own selfish desires.

Daisy and Abigail differ, however, in intention.  While Daisy is certainly greedy and selfish, she doesn't seem to really possess an awareness of her flaws; she has a certain innocence, a belief that she can return to the way things were with Gatsby.  Though she believes she is cynical in the beginning, she isn't really.  Once she is reunited with Gatsby, she does seem to really love him.  It's just that when she finds out that he's made his fortune illegally, as a bootlegger, he seems to become sort of subhuman to her: she seems to care as little about his life as she does about Myrtle Wilson's.  She intended to be with him out of love, but when she finds out how dramatically lower he is in status than she, it becomes clear that she prioritizes status over love, but she didn't set out to manipulate.  Abigail, on the other hand, seems to know exactly what she's doing, manipulating others consciously from the very first.  While Daisy seems to be blindly following whatever impulse she thinks will make her happiest, Abigail is very cunning and thoughtful: she is threatening and deceitful and murderous and all for one cause, one goal.  Daisy doesn't think ahead the way Abigail does; she isn't as manipulative. 

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The Crucible

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