Let's also add Tituba who is the catalyst for all the witchcraft, though certainly not the hysteria. She is foreign and has brought her native mysticism into this Puritan environment. And Mrs. Putnam is a bitter woman who is willing to do anything--even send her only daughter into the forest to use witchcraft--to try to find some peace for her grief. This desperation spurs her on in her accusations, feeding the hysteria. Several others serve as innocent victims simply because theye were in the wrong time, as in the case of Goody Osborne. Women are both empowered and powerless in this play; there doesn't seem to be much middle ground.
Women in The Crucible
What is the role of women in The Crucible?
Miller's two major women characters play key roles in the drama.
Abigail Williams serves as the catalyst for the play's events. It is her false accusations which initiate the witchcraft hysteria in Salem; it is her subsequent premeditated acts which feed it, resulting in the murders of 20 innocent souls. Miller develops Abigail as a dynamic character in that her confidence is shaken and her power destroyed by the play's conclusion, even though her self-serving nature does not change.
Elizabeth Proctor gives the reader insight into John's character. Through John's relationship with Elizabeth, Arthur Miller develops the steps in John's moral and spiritual growth, which is finally realized in the final scene between John and Elizabeth moments before his death. Elizabeth's character is one of strength and developing self-awareness.
Both Abigail and Elizabeth play very significant roles in John Proctor's life.