Abigail is extremely persuasive, and it is this that causes the other character’s to go along with the witch hunts. In theory she shouldn’t be taken seriously, as she is an unmarried, teenage, servant girl with a low social status. Elizabeth Proctor tells people she has behave lustfully, lowering her reputation further. However she acts in the courtroom, for example when she says she can see a “yellow bird” and uses the power of female sexuality to control people, which was feared in the puritan society.
Her “endless capacity for dissembling” gives her protection and support in accusing Elizabeth and allows her to begin her well thought out scheme to get John. When she feels threatened she attacks ruthlessly, therefore I believe her motivation is revenge as well as her desire for John Procter. However, Miller did make it possible to have some sympathy with her character. In holding up a mirror to his own society, he shows what the puritan society has done to Abigail. As a playwright, he is motivated to show the weaknesses of his own society and therefore Abigail could be seen as the victim.
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The puritan society is which has turned her into this unhappy, yet diabolical character. The society in Salem was very restraining and so Abigail’s actions could simply be a teenager’s stereotypical need to rebel and break free. The name of the play “The Crucible” is a metaphor for the feeling of stifling, and this at least installs some humanity within her. She has no family ties, her uncle thinks that children should be seen and not heard “QUOTE” and she seems uncertain of her security in her place in the home and in their relationship in saying “do you begrudge me my bed, uncle?
” She is an orphan, and has seen her “parents heads smashed” on the pillow next to hers, an experience likely to disturb anyone. She doesn’t seem to trust her friends, they are more like minions who do her bidding out of fear. Therefore, the only person she truly felt she could trust was John Procter, who betrays her. “That’s done with” Furthermore. I find it possible to have the same amount of sympathy with Abigail Williams as the protagonist, John Proctor.
There is a strong theme of betrayal an abuse of trust: he was her employer and he has sex with her, he abuses his wife’s trust and he lastly betrays her trust in refusing to continue their romantic affair. Abigail is continuously represented as a silly teenager, both in her need to rebel and her jealous, obsessive crush on John Procter, therefore, despite her actions she is vulnerable and alone, with no trusting relationship or role model. According to Aristotle, the antagonist opposes the protagonist, however Abigail desires the antagonist “I know you”.
Despite their conflict, John Procter and Abigail have many similarities in their aims. Both of them want something more than the Puritan society can offer them, John Procter is dissatisfied with the church and his home life, and Abigail seeks freedom and a trusting relationship. Abigail makes the play an effective tragedy in that the audience find her devious actions entertaining, she is almost likeable in her wretchedness. Comparing Abigail to Elizabeth Procter who’s “justice could freeze beer” Abigail at least doesn’t play the martyr.