The Crucible of Abigail Williams
The Crucible of Abigail Williams Abigail Williams is a very spiteful and bitter woman, but she has the biggest influence on the play with all the lies she tells about people being witches which are believed and cost some people their lives. Abigail is one of the most misunderstood characters because she is so good at lying that it almost seems like she is telling the truth. A crucible is a large test that one may face that may force them to make a controversial decision to benefit them or to hurt them.
In Salem, Massachusetts in 1691 there were whispers of witch craft. To avoid it one has to make lies to save themselves. Abigail Williams is one of the most important people in this story because she tells by far the most lies because she needs to protect herself because she was one of many that started the witch craft controversy. Abigail’s crucible is her lying because she has to keep track of what she has said and she does not know when to stop so she keeps making up lies.
The decision she is faced with is to stop lying and tell the truth then she would most likely be killed or keep lying to save herself but when it starts getting out of control the decision is stressed because when she feels threatened by the evidence brought to court she needs to make a decision and quick. “In a small upper bedroom in the home of Reverend Samuel Parris”(Miller 1234). Abigail starts this witch craft fiasco when she fells that she would be put to death for dancing naked in the woods.
Abigail first went with Tituba, the servant of Parris, and the other girls to call up spirits, but Abigail’s jealousy got in the way she not only wanted Tituba to call on John Proctor, Abigail’s love, she wished the death of Elizabeth Proctor, John Proctors wife, so that Abigail may take the place of her by his side. When they were out in the woods Mr. Parris found them and the next day found his daughter motionless in bed. Parris asks Abigail what he is supposed to tell everyone in the village and Abigail says “We danced […] but they’re speaking witchcraft. Betty’s not witched. ”(Miller 1238).
This is when Abigail starts her chain of lies to protect her and the other girls. She says they danced but she did not tell Parris about the other things that they did like conjure spirits and that Abigail drank blood. To get the other girls to follow along with her she threatened the girls all because she just wants witch craft out of the question. The only way Abigail can get witchcraft from her name is to be an accuser or a justice and not be the accused so she needs to turn the tables by starting to blame other people for witch craft. The first person she blames is Tituba Abigail says in response to Hale’s question did you call the devil? I never called him! Tituba, Tituba […] she made me do it! She made Betty do it! ”(Miller 1259-1260) Abigail starts to pin the whole witch craft catastrophe on Tituba. “The horrible thing is that Abigail is the one who persuaded Tituba to go out and cast the spells. ”(Shmoop). This just goes to show how ruthless Abigail is and how she will do anything to save herself and to keep her name clean. Tituba reluctantly gives in to the accusations after the realization that it was necessary in order to save her life. This action on part of Abigail helps shift blame and suspicion from herself solely to that of Tituba.
Tituba invents lies and sends the witchcraft fear further into a sense of fear for Salem. After Tituba’s confession Abigail says “I want the light of God, I want the sweet love of Jesus! I danced for the Devil; I saw him, I wrote in his book; I go back to Jesus; I kiss His hand. ” (Miller 1262). Abigail wants her name clean and her thinking is if she admits to dancing with the Devil and acts as if she repents for it then nobody will suspect her for a witch. After the confession of Tituba Abigail says “I look for John Proctor that took me from my sleep and put knowledge in my heart! (Miller 1247). This refers to the affair that Abigail and John had when Abigail worked for him. It is also a testament to the way that Abigail feels she really wants John to leave Elizabeth and go to her and she is willing to do anything to make that happen. In John Proctor’s house when John Proctor comes home from working in the fields Elizabeth discovers that John was with Abigail alone and does not trust him any more. Through Abigail’s lying and attempts to win John over she begins to draw John and Elizabeth apart.
When she realizes that she has a chance to frame Elizabeth she accuses Elizabeth of witch craft, because she wants to accuse Elizabeth on the grounds of Elizabeth being angry about the affair John and Abigail ha. Her thinking was that if she could not have John then no one can. Abigail feels as if she has won Johns wife is in jail and she knows that John still has feelings for her, so she feels like she can take the place of Elizabeth. Little did Abigail know that John would fight to get Elizabeth back by forcing Mary Warren to confess that it was her poppet not Elizabeth’s and that the girls are lying about all the witch craft.
In the court room Abigail wants to attempt to prove Elizabeth a witch John comes in with Mary warren. When Mary testifies that the girls were lying Abigail said Mary was lying then when Abigail begins to feel threatened by Mary testifying she lies about Mary sending her spirit down to attack her. This is a sign of Abigail feeling very nervous about her lies holding up during court so she lies again. Then almost like the leader of a clan when Abigail acts all the girls follow suit acting as if Mary has sent her spirit on them and made them cold.
During this Abigail drops to her knees and says “Oh, Heavenly Father take Away this shadow” (Miller 1307). After she says this Proctor interrupts her and tries to expose her as a whore. “she (Abigail) seems to lose her last shred of humanity by damning John Proctor, whom she claims to love […] she skillfully manages to turn the whole thing around on him,”(Shmoop). By saying that she is not a whore she gets out of it and when things right before anything else can be said about her being a whore she acts as if Mary had changed her spirit into a bird that is going to attack her, just as before the girls follow suit and the girls start screaming.
After the girls have been terrified they Mary calls Proctor the devils man which Abigail wanted. Abigail begins to snap under all the pressure of having to keep up with her lies and make up new ones to protect herself that protecting her self becomes very hard because of all the lies she has made. In the jail Parris went to meet with Judges Danforth and Hathorne to say “My niece, sir, my niece- I believe she has vanished. […] I think they be aboard a ship. ” (Miller 1322).
Abigail started to feel the pressure and she snapped she felt like she had to leave Salem. Abigail also feels that if she stays any longer the accusations of witch craft might come back on her. Abigail Williams is a conniving, tricky, spiteful and intelligent girl. To protect herself she made a chain of lies that people would believe which cleared her name of all allegations against her until her lies started to build up and affect the people she cared about like John Proctor.
Right when she thinks she is doing everything right and she was about to have the wife of the man she loves in jail everything starts to crumble. Abigail feels like everything is about to crumble and she would be left for all the blame so she decided the best thing to do was run. Through Abigail Miller has delivered a great message the large message is to not lie, but the smaller more in-depth message is that if you lie you begin to only make your story worse and in the mean time you affect everyone around you.