Why does Abigail blame Marry Warren in The Crucible?  

Expert Answers info

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write8,999 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

In act three, John Proctor travels into Salem with Mary Warren and makes her confess that the girls are frauds. Mary Warren's testimony threatens to undermine Abigail's authority and is extremely damaging to her reputation. Abigail is aware that Mary Warren's testimony is crucial and has the potential to disband Salem's court. John Proctor also attempts to undermine Abigail's authority and reputation by admitting that he had an affair with her. After Proctor's confession, Abigail realizes that she must sway the court in her favor and begins to act like she sees Mary Warren's spirit flying in the air. Abigail and the other girls proceed to act hysterical and scream that Mary's spirit is in the form of a bird and is threatening to attack them. The tension rises and Mary Warren fears for her life. She eventually runs towards Abigail and confesses that John is colluding with the devil. Abigail's rouse works and John Proctor is arrested. Abigail knew that placing the blame on Mary Warren would change her position and that she would eventually accuse John Proctor in order to avoid being arrested.

Further Reading:
check Approved by eNotes Editorial
pirateteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write542 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

In Act III ofThe Crucible, Abigail begins to see her power weakening.  Proctor has brought Mary Warren to court to confess that she "never saw no spirits."  As the courts begin to question Abigail on her role in the trials she turns on Mary Warren in an attempt to get the eyes off of her. 

Pressure mounts as Danforth begins questioning Abigail, so Abigail again pretends to be bewitched.  However, this time she blames Mary Warren by claiming her former friend is sending her spirit out on her in the form of a yellow bird.  Abigail screams the bird is attacking her (supported by echoes from the other girls) and begs Danforth to save her.

With such strong evidence, Danforth has no choice but to believe Abigail and tells Mary Warren to confess.  Finally, Mary Warren gives up and turns on Proctor.  She tells the court he is "the devil's man" and it is he who made her come to Salem "to overthrow the court." Abigail graciously takes her friend back, and John Proctor is taken into jail.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial