Salem Witch Trials and Vengeance

Topics: Salem witch trials, The Crucible, John Proctor Pages: 3 (1015 words) Published: January 30, 2011
In Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible, vengeance plays a major role in the actions of the characters through the witchcraft trials in the Puritan village of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. Anger, jealousy, rejection, and betrayal all occur throughout the play and are all things that could provoke someone to seek vengeance on someone else. Abigail Williams, niece of Reverend Parris, is one of the main characters who is very guilty of wanting vengeance on others throughout The Crucible.

In Act I, the reader gets a taste of who each character is and the previous troubles they've had with each other at Reverend Parris' house, where many of the characters have come to check on Betty who is supposedly ill after a night of dancing in the woods. Abigail shows that she does not favor Elizabeth Proctor when Parris asks her why she was no longer a servant for the Proctor household. Abigail replied to him, “She hates me, uncle, she must, for I would not be her slave. It's a bitter woman, a lying, cold, sniveling woman, and I will not work for such a woman!” (Miller 1240). This statement foreshadows that there was an incident between the Proctor's and Abigail while she was working for them. Then once Abigail and John Proctor are alone in Betty's room, she speaks to him about his affair with her and how she waits for him every night. He then tells her, “Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I'll ever reach for you again. Wipe it out of mind. We never touched, Abby.” (Miller 1246). This greatly angered Abigail. Feeling a sense of rejection, she decided that she needed to seek vengeance on Elizabeth, since she is unable to be with John. Also, when Abigail was alone with Betty and Mary Warren, she threatened to get vengeance on them if either of them turned her in. “And mark this. Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will...
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