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The Crucible: Who is to Blame?

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I believe that Abigail Williams is to blame for turning the town of Salem against many people, and I think it is her fault that several people were killed. Abigail Williams sends the town into a state of hysteria by accusing men and women of practicing the satanic art of witchcraft. Abigail’s flaws - her lustful desire for John Proctor, her deceptive habit of lying in order to retain her good name in the town, and her selfishness and obsessive aspiration for power – led her to be ultimately responsible for the catastrophe of the witch hunt in Salem.
The first reason Abigail is to blame for the deaths of the innocent Puritans is her lustful personal ambition to be John Proctor’s wife. John and Abigail previously had an affair, which basically began the hysteria. An exasperated John attempted to tell Abigail the affair is a thing of the past, by saying, “Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I’ll ever reach for you again.” Abigail, however, relentlessly strives to keep their “romance” alive. Because of this intense jealousy of John’s wife, there is an enormous amount of tension between Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Proctor. Abigail even goes as far as to consume a potion with the intent to murder Elizabeth, which Betty confronts her about by saying, “You drank a charm to kill John Proctor’s wife! You drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor!” Abigail is so envious of Elizabeth, she does the unthinkable by accusing her of witchcraft. She claims that Goody Proctor’s spirit came to her and stabbed her with a needle. She felt that if she could dispose of Elizabeth Proctor, she could take her rightful position as John’s wife.
Abigail deliberately lies throughout the entire play. Abigail is wil...

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...than be accused of lying and lose all the power and adulation she has fought to hold on to. As soon as Abigail realized people were beginning to suspect her integrity, however, her initial instinct was to flee. Parris, her uncle, was the first to notice this, telling the court, “My niece, sir, my niece – I believe she has vanished.” This exemplifies her selfish behavior, because instead of taking responsibility for her actions, she would rather cowardly run from her problems.
Because of Abigail’s deleterious behavior, many innocent victims were brutally murdered. All of her actions were selfish and pretentious. Abigail may not have intended to cause the witch trials, but she certainly did nothing to end them once they began. Abigail’s lustful behavior, her unhealthy habit of lying, and her obsessive desire for power makes her responsible for the Salem witch trials.
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