Essay on Abigail Williams in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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Sewanee University of the South
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The crucible is a dramatized and partially fictionalized story which took place in Massachusetts written by Arthur Miller. The main character in the play is Abigail Williams. Abigail is vindictive and a mean individual. She always wants things to take her way, and she is ready to hurt others for her to achieve her desire. Her actions cause harm and danger to other girls and members of her community. Abigail intentionally deceives other girls as well as her employer to protect her interests; however, her dishonesty proves that she is not a noble friend and employee.

Abigail lies to avoid punishment for casting spells. Abigail has a relationship with John Proctor who is the husband of Elizabeth. These two used to employ Abigail. Abigail is fired by Elizabeth after Elizabeth finds out of the affair between Abigail and Proctor. Abigail claims that she is in love with Proctor who has already told her that the relationship was over, Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I ever reach for you again.(Page 23) Abigail tries to kill Elizabeth with a curse with the intention of marrying John after Elizabeth was dead. She accuses Elizabeth of witchcraft after she put a needle in a doll that Marry Warren; the Proctors servant making the puppet. She uses this to lay accusations on Elizabeth. This is an act aimed at diverting the attention of the people of Salem from her practice of witchcraft and instead deceives them to believe that Elizabeth is responsible for witchcraft which had a harsh punishment in the community.

Abigail also lies to receive care and attention. John Proctor loved and cared for Abigail like no one else did in the community. She agrees that the love and care could be compared to that of a father and a child. In one instance after the end of the affair Proctor indicates the love and care he had towards her. He ends the relationship between the two on a soft tone as opposed to hurting statements. Abigail had never received such love before, and this is precisely shown where she states, I saw Indians smash my dear parents heads on the pillow next to mine (pg 20) She was a child when this happened thus grew up lacking parental love. Abigail may have just lied to Proctor that she loved him only to receive the love and care she never received.

Lastly, Abigail deceives other characters in the play to receive respect and power. Her act of declaring witchcraft provides Abigail with an opportunity to gain instant respect and recognition in the Salem community. In addition to the attention and respect garnered in the community, she uses her authority to create an atmosphere of intimidation and fear. This translates to power in the community. She uses threats to force other girls of her age in the community to support her plans. In case she doubts their loyalty to her, Abigail is prompt to accuse them of witchcraft.

In conclusion, throughout the play, it is evident that Abigail intentionally deceives others. Abigails lies and accusations are based on a personal gain approach. She does not care about the feelings of others in the community but instead is more self-centered. Her dishonesty is an example of her mean character.

Work Cited

Miller, Arthur. The Crucible: Revised Edition. Penguin, 1996.

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