What are the various ways Abby explains her behavior in the woods to different characters in The Crucible?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For the most part, Abigail does not hide what happened in the woods.  She never really speaks of it.  She also does not accept a large level of responsibility about what happened.  Rather, when she speaks with the girls in the first Act, there is a concerted effort to "keep stories straight."  Her explanation is more of a coercion of the other girls to not break ranks.  When Mary Warren starts to express a level of discontent, Abigail is quick to reprimand her.  It becomes evident that while Abigail does not really try to hid what happened, she is more concerned that all the girls follow their lead.  Her desire for authority and control are quite evident.

When she and Proctor speak about what happened, Abigail downplays it.  She merely suggests that they were dancing and having "fun."  In an equally harmless way, Proctor dismisses this as youthful indiscretion, the same that he shared with her.  Abigail uses the explanation of what happened in the woods as a segue to hopefully continue their own affair of the past, displaying her own sense of control and dominance.  Similar to what was shown with the girls in the prior scene, Abigail offers different explanations to different people about what happened in the woods.  Yet, in each, the common thread is that her own sense of control and dominance is present.