The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

The Crucible book cover
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Who is the central character in The Crucible and why?  

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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One could argue that Abigail Williams is the central character in that she is the catalyst for virtually everything that happens in the play. Without Abigail there would be no witch-hunt in Salem. She's the one who sets the whole thing in motion and adds fuel to the fire at every opportunity. Before long, she's the single most powerful individual in town, striking fear into the heart of everyone. Abbie becomes so powerful that it gets to the point where just one word from those lying lips of hers is enough to send an innocent person to the gallows.

If one looked at a playbill of a production of The Crucible, or at the cast list of a film version, then John Proctor would be the lead role. But virtually everything that he does is in response to something that Abbie has already done. At every step of the way, he's reacting to events rather than shaping them.

With Abbie, it's the other way round. She's making things, very bad things, happen, and all anyone can do, John included, is to react...

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