The Dynamics of Fear
The worst thing one has to fear is fear itself. In Arthur Miller’s play, fear infiltrates the everyday lives of the people of Salem by disturbing many citizens and causing some of them to resort to lies and dishonesty to deflect criticism of their character. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, fear changes a girl’s true nature and power thirsty men begin to crumble at the thought of losing their influence and position in Salem.
Abigail is the beautiful, ambitious, seventeen-year-old niece of Reverend Parris, but with her supposed friends, Abigail becomes a sly, malicious person and tends to manipulate them out of fear of being forgotten and rejected from the group. Abigail threatens the girls: “Let either of you breathe a word […] about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you.” (Miller 80). She craves public attention. She manipulates everyone around her to believing she is kind and pure, but she is only trying to protect herself by eliminating everyone who challenges her behavior or stands in her way.
Her selfish behavior is exposed as she tries to persuade Proctor to continue having an affair with her. She wants his trust, his protection, and his love and is afraid that he has forgotten her completely. She feels deserted. On page 87, Abigail pleads to John Proctor: “You loved me, John Proctor! John, pity me, pity me!” (Miller 78). She is pleading him to feel sorry for her and to devote himself to her. She is also envious of Elizabeth for her marriage to John Proctor and will do anything to end it. She tries to place herself between John Proctor and Elizabeth and have him doubt his relationship with his own wife: “She is blackening my name […] She is a cold, sniveling woman […]“ (Miller 86). She pretends to be angry with Elizabeth for destroying her reputation by...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document