Abigail is among the main characters in Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’, and is frequently illustrated as the villain of the play. Some of her actions result in the witch trials and the hysteria in Salem.
This essay will evaluate to what level the character of Abigail is to blame for the events that occur in Salem, and for that reason if the opinion that lots of people have on her is proper. On the one hand Abigail can be viewed as she who starts and consequentially continues the hysteria in Salem. It is in fact from the start of the play, when she is found dancing in the woods with her friends, that her actions trigger problems in the town, bringing the people to “mumbling witchcraft” (One, 17). The trigger to the witch hunt in the play is certainly the discovery of the ladies and this event is caused by Abigail, which wished to eliminate Elizabeth Proctor, “You consumed a charm to eliminate John Proctor’s wife” (One, 15).
Till then people in Salem had understood about witches however had never thought of looking for them.
This action from Abigail right away reveals her cruelty, prepared to kill people to have what she desires. Not just does Abigail cause the initial panic though, however she does not stop it when she can by lying with the other young servants and ladies. It is as soon as again hers choice to lie, obliging the other women to do so too in order to prevent additional trouble, “We danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam’s dead sister. And that is all” (One, 15). By lying she does not stop the problem that then causes all the other occasions occurring in the play. For these reasons her attitude and actions initially in the play already have a terrific impact on the hysteria in Salem that follows. In Act One Abigail right away begins to feel the empowerment that the witch trials can give her, with individuals listening to her and considering her opinion a lot more than when she was just thought about an useless servant. This is another reason she ensures that the hysteria does not stop.
The power that she believes she has is visible when she speaks, “Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word […] and I will concern you in the black of some awful night” (One, 15). This quote is also an example of how violent and cruel she is, threatening her own pals, making her an even more unsafe character in the play. Among the primary motivations that lead her actions in the play is the love for John Proctor and hate for Elizabeth. Quickly in the play she understands how useful the witch trial can be for the function of eliminating Elizabeth and having John all for herself and this leads to her encouraging the hysteria much more. She shows her feelings for Proctor early in the play, “Give me a soft word, John” (One, 17), however their relationship is restrained by Elizabeth. Because of so she chooses to “promote” the witch trial by implicating Elizabeth, “Why, Abigail Williams charged her” (2, 60).
This quote once again demonstrates how vicious and ruthless she is, all set to ruin a marriage to gain what she desires. Later in the play the benefits and empowerment that the witch trials provide her ended up being even clearer. In court her words become “God’s will” and none of her sins are thought about. She becomes so powerful that she can behave how she desires with more important people,” [in an open risk] Let you beware Mr.Danforth” (Three, 87). She becomes, together with her buddies, which were also servants, feared in Salem, “Abigail bring the other girls to court, and where she strolls the crowd will part like the sea of Israel”. This simile with a reference to the Bible shows how powerful she has become. People in court will now get out of the method when she comes close, opening in 2 to let her pass, similar to the red sea of Israel finished with Moses.
On the other hand, though, not all that happens in Salem is caused by Abigail. An important element that triggers the hysteria is the society itself. Salem remains in truth a theocratic town, where whatever is done according to faith and is either great or wrong. For this factor the circumstance in the town is currently rather hysterical and individuals are just waiting for a reason to solve their own grudges, such as Putnam who “was a male of lots of grievances,” (One, 11). For this reason something that will let them behave out of borders without really making them feel guilty is accept by many. This results in nobody attempting to stop the issue right away because everyone can get something from the witch trials.
Also the other characters have a great influence on all the events that take place in Salem. A fine example is John Proctor. He might stop the issue immediately due to the fact that he understands the truth of what took place in the woods, “she told me in a room alone. I have no evidence of it” (Two, 44). He does not however since individuals would understand about his story with Abigail and his credibility, something really crucial in Salem society, would be destroyed. “I have offered you my soul, leave me my name” is a fine example of just how much Proctor takes care of his credibility. Proctor is so causing the events for his own personal factors.
Another good example is Parris who uses the witch trial to enhance his fragile reputation in Salem. Before the witch trial lots of wished to overthrow him, however all of a sudden with the hysteria he too got power and had the ability to keep his essential position. From my points it is so possible to conclude that Abigail triggers the events in Salem only to a restricted level. There remain in truth numerous other reasons why hysteria distributes in Salem. The society, being extremely easy to affect, is a fantastic cause, and other character, each for their individual reasons, have a large influence on all that happens in Salem. Abigail can not be totally blamed and is not the only bad guy in the play.