Abigail Williams ' The Crucible Essay

Abigail Williams ' The Crucible Essay

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Abigail Williams in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is both the vehicle that drives the play as well as the antagonist. She points fingers, manipulates, and ends up being the fall of Salem all in her scheme to get rid of Goody Proctor and make John Proctor her own. Abigail’s motivation to be with Proctor reveals her true self: a vindictive, manipulative young woman rebelling against a restrictive Puritan society.
In many ways, the character of Abigail Williams can be considered a one-dimensional villain. All throughout the play while she’s wrecking diabolical havoc on the community, she doesn’t express any remorse for the damage she’s caused and the lives she’s inexplicitly ruined. Miller gives little background story for Abigail, but we do know that when she was younger she witnessed the brutal murder of her parents. Abigail threatens the other girls and tells them, ”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. And you know I can do it; I saw Indians smash my dear parents ' heads on the pillow next to mine, and I have seen some reddish work done at night, and I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down!” Right from the start of the play, we realize the Abigail is a ruthless force and that because she’s witnessed such a brutal act when she was younger, she is now brutal herself. Abigail’s calamitous ways can also be a result of her low position in Puritan society. She’s both an orphan and unmarried, and not to mention a female. The people of Salem spreading rumors about her having an affair with John Proctor don’t do much to help her reputation either. In essence, a witc...


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...acters of the play but is the cause for her downfall. On the other hand, she doesn’t appear to have a conscience, as she doesn’t feel bothered by the people she has put to certain death, but merely sees them as instruments in her grand scheme to end up with John Proctor. Abigail’s fantasy of ending up with Proctor reflects her age and nativity, but at the same time she possesses a mature ruthlessness that she uses to cause fear and intimidation throughout Salem.
While she is one-dimensional in some regards, Abigail Williams is complex in others. She doesn’t seem like your typical antagonist, a young girl that has so much vengeance with showing little to no remorse for her destructive actions. Her entire motivation throughout The Crucible is to be with John Proctor, who she loses and ends up with nothing, including the spell she had once cast over the town of Salem.

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