Was Abigail Williams Solely Responsible for the Salem Witch Trials

Topics: Salem witch trials, The Crucible, Witchcraft Pages: 3 (904 words) Published: July 31, 2009
In a town where people saw the devil lurking behind every corner and the reason behind all misfortunes being the result of some sin, when the cry of witchcraft rung through the town via the lips of Abigail Williams people were more than willing to believe that the devil was alive in Salem. But was it solely due to Abigail that the events that followed and consequently the witch trials took place? Though the primary offender it is not her actions alone that provoked nor exacerbated the situation. There were many others involved that largely contributed to prolonging the witchcraft hysteria. Such people include Reverend John Hale and the leading judge of the trials deputy governor Danforth.

Abigail bears most of the responsibility for the activities that occurred in the woods. Once discovered she finds herself attempting to conceal her behaviour for if she confesses she will be inclined to expose her affair with John Proctor, a married man. Instead she shifts the focus from herself by accusing others of witchcraft. This desperate act of self-preservation soon becomes her means of power. With an unrelenting willingness to discard Puritan code, Abigail is independent and believes that nothing is impossible nor beyond her grasp. These qualities often lead to creativity and a thirst for life, but she lacks a conscience to keep herself in check. Possessing shrewd insight and a capacity for strategy, declaring witchcraft provided her with instant status and recognition within Salem, which transposed into power. Using this new authority to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, she tells lies, manipulates her friends and the entire town in an attempt to hide her sins, threatening those who dare oppose here. (ABIGAIL: “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 bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you”). It is due to these actions that...
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