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Examples Of Abigail Williams In The Crucible

Satisfactory Essays
Lydia Velishek
Mr. Stensrud
Honors: US Literature & Composition
10 October 2017
Title Here It is clear that Abigail Williams is portrayed as the antagonist in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, taking place in the late 1600s in Salem, Massachusetts and based on the witch-trials therein. She serves as a catalyst for the witch trials by falsely accusing innocent townspeople with the intent of maintaining the position of power she gains from them. Due to the transparency of her actions, Abigail’s ulterior motives are also distinguishable. Certain effeminate stereotypes are presented throughout the course of the play. One of which, being that of the immoral, husbandless woman, Abigail embodies. Slave to emotion and motivated by lust, Abigail falls
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In Act I, when John and Abigail have a private exchange in Betty’s room, Abigail pleads with John for his affection, imploring, “Give me a word, John. A soft word” (Miller 22). Abigail evidently still wishes for involvement with John, pleading with him to ‘give [her] a soft word’. This hints that her devotion to John takes place on an emotional level, rather than just a physical one, as she wants him to comfort her. After John denies her, Abigail snaps, “[Elizabeth] is blackening my name in the village! She is telling lies about me! She is a cold, sniveling woman, and you bend to her! Let her turn you like a - “ (24). Abigail’s jealousy is most noticeable in this quotation. She uses the words ‘cold, sniveling woman’ to describe Elizabeth, reminding John of his wife’s reaction to the affair and her ‘coldness’ towards him, attempting to prod at a weak spot in their marriage. By telling John, a man, valued by his reputation and implacability that he ‘bends to [Elizabeth, a woman]’, Abigail also seeks to hurt John’s self worth. Abigail’s overly emotional responses correspond with the stereotypical behavior of a woman in this time period. She leads with her heart rather than with her head, both when she refuses to accept that John does not love her and when she verbally berates Elizabeth when she realizes the only way for her to truly have John is for Elizabeth to be out of the…show more content…
Abigail, as shown when she allows her jealousy of Elizabeth and her lust for John to help fuel the hysteria of the witch trials, fits this stereotype. A stereotype, which has not been abandoned to this day. Stereotypes create biases that last through generations, and biases lead to discrimination of different groups of people. As shown in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, the stereotype that Abigail falls under still applies to women today, but unlike Abigail, the women who are forced under this stereotype are not characters in a play, but rather real