In "The Crucible" why does Abigail accuse others of witchcraft? I would like to know why she accused people other than Elizabeth.

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It's a case of what psychologists call projection. This is a defense mechanism that people employ in order to cope with difficult feelings and emotions. In the case of Abigail, she knows that she could get into serious trouble for her midnight romps in the forest. In real danger of being exposed as a witch, and sorely lacking in emotional maturity, she projects her undesirable feelings and emotions onto other people in Salem, falsely accusing them of something of which she herself is guilty. This is a way of getting her retaliation in first. If she can whip up a feeding frenzy of witch hysteria, then the last thing anyone will do is make accusations against her. In her own way, Abigail's trying to protect herself against the potentially damaging repercussions of her diabolical actions. But things soon take on a momentum all of their own until it reaches the point where Abigail couldn't stop the hysteria even if she wanted to.

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Abigail starts her web of lies in a desperate attempt to not...

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