The actual history of the Salem Witch trials took place in Massachusetts, Puritan New England. It was a series of trials of people being accused of witchcraft/ crimes against religion, many of those accused were women. Mass hysteria and panic caused the executions of 20 people. (Fourteen women and six men)
The Crucible centers around John Proctor and how his problems seem to come from the same source, Abigail Williams. Abigail Williams, a seventeen year old girl with whom John had an affair with. John, although first hesitant to admit it and ruin his good name, he finds it necessary to reveal his affair when Abigail and the other girls accuse Elizabeth of witchcraft. The main focus of this movie was Abigail’s desire for revenge. Abigail uses “reputation” as her weapon, accusing people of witchcraft proves to strengthen her position in society.
Abigail uses witchcraft as a means to attack others while sustaining herself. Abigail Williams is the perfect example of my thesis, a negative and evil portrayal of a woman. She utilizes religion and falsifies events in order to get what she feels she desires. The negative portrayal is that of a lying, manipulative girl whose very nature is to sin. Abigail also uses innocence...
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...ore, she was impure to begin with.
Reis sees The Salem Witch trials as they unfairly targeted women. Mass hysteria certainly played a role in the rapid hatred of women. Approximately 78% of the “witches” were women, which knowing their role in Puritan New England, is not surprising. Since women were believed to be inherently evil in nature, they served as a scapegoat most of the time in witch trials.
The Crucible shows the negative portrayal of women in the 17th century through Abigail Williams. The underlying misogyny of Puritan New England is hidden but when looking, quite opaque, in The Crucible. Hytner showed the Puritan New England portrayal of the evil nature of women through one character, Abigail Williams. This character also supports Reis’ main point in “Damned Woman”, where women at that time were religiously subjected to negative portrayals of themselves.
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