The Crucible

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Arthur Miller's The Crucible, the whirlwind events of the Salem witch trials stem from the community's bottled up bitterness over political, financial, and personal issues. This devil-worship scandal is quickly seized by Abigail Williams as an opportunity to seek power and revenge. Abigail is a small-minded girl overflowed with resentment. She is an unmarried woman and also an orphan. Abigail must take the humble position of a servant, but her pride causes her to resent her low position on the social ladder. Abigail is hit with more bitter wind when John Proctor refuses to reciprocate her love. As an orphan, the young Abigail seems to have been deprived of nurturing love and becomes deeply attached to John Proctor, the only man who has given her passion and whom she claims "put knowledge in her heart." Abigail's desperation to cling onto Proctor's no longer existent love drives her to take advantage of the havoc in Salem to achieve her desires. Abigail's vindictive and manipulative nature is a significant catalyst to the events and results of the witch hunt. Yet, this character's fate remains indefinite and is a lingering loose end to Miller's tragedy. Abigail is most often considered the play's villain and the lack of just punishment for her leaves the audience dissatisfied. Abigail initiates a sly game of finger pointing that leads to ample victims executed. She also greedily finds satisfaction in this game as it gives her a new kind of power that her reputation in the community did not previously grant. Abigail finds control over the "keys of the kingdom" and handles it with reckless, selfish hands. It is thus unnerving to the audience that she runs away from Salem, fleeing retribution and leaving others to sort out the mayhem she had caused. In the end of The Crucible, the Good met with unjust fate, while the Evil endured with no apparent punishment. Miller's tactic is clearly far from Shakespearean. The tragedy leaves the villain's fate unaddressed, and in...
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