The Crucible

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A Feminist Theory of ‘The Crucible’
In The Crucible, gender plays an important role in how the story comes together. Abigail, the main antagonist in the play, is a young, unmarried woman who is also an orphan. She resents being a servant, the only opportunity offered to a young, unmarried girl. It shows the limited opportunities for women of that age. The whole frenzy and hysteria brought about by the witch trials begins when Abigail and the other girls involved in the dancing in the forest accuse others in the village of being witches. Abigail and the other girls gain a huge amount of power and authority during the witch trials than they would have done in normal village life, as young unmarried girls usually did not have a say in anything, e.g. they would have had to obey their employer and master of the house and were not considered to be women until they were married and had a family of their own and so would not have been taken seriously. A married woman held more power and respect in society than unmarried women and they also had a voice. This seems to suggest women cannot attain or hold power without men. The book also suggests that women should not be in a position of too much power as they are likely to misuse it and they are prone to let their feelings get in the way of important matters, leading to disaster and chaos, as it is portrayed in the story. Abigail gains the position of the leader of the other girls and is proclaimed a saint, so everything she says is immediately assumed to be the truth, but at the same time she abuses her power, using her ability to manipulate and control.

Mary Warren: ……..You must see it, sir, it’s God’s work we do. So I’ll be gone everyday for some time. I’m – I am an official of the court, they say, and I- Proctor: I’ll official you! (He strides to the mantel, takes down the whip hanging there.) Mary Warren (terrified, but coming erect, striving for her authority): I’ll not stand whipping anymore. The other girls...
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