How Far Is Abigail to Blame for the Events in Salem

Topics: Salem witch trials, The Crucible, Witchcraft Pages: 3 (1055 words) Published: January 8, 2013
The Crucible Literary Essay
How far is Abigail to blame for the events in Salem?
Abigail is one of the main characters in Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’, and is often depicted as the villain of the play. Some of her actions lead to the witch trials and the hysteria in Salem. This essay will analyse to what extent the character of Abigail is to blame for the events that occur in Salem, and therefore if the opinion that many people have on her is correct. On the one hand Abigail can be seen 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 cause problems in the town, bringing the people to “mumbling witchcraft” (One, 17). The trigger to the witch hunt in the play is indeed the discovery of the girls and this event is caused by Abigail, which wanted to kill Elizabeth Proctor, “You drank a charm to kill John Proctor’s wife” (One, 15). Till then people in Salem had known about witches but had never thought of looking for them. This action from Abigail immediately shows her cruelty, ready to kill people to have what she desires. Not only does Abigail cause the initial panic though, but she does not stop it when she can by lying with the other young servants and girls. It is once again hers decision to lie, obliging the other girls to do so too in order to avoid further 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 leads to all the other events happening in the play. For these reasons her attitude and actions initially in the play already have a great influence on the hysteria in Salem that follows. In Act One Abigail immediately starts to feel the empowerment that the witch trials can give her, with people listening to her and considering her opinion much more than when she was just considered a useless servant. This is another reason...
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