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Role of Abigail on Witch Trials in the Town of Salem Essay

Role of Abigail on Witch Trials in the Town of Salem


            In the novel “The crucible” representation of a disturbing and powerful play based on a true event has been shown clearly by the author Arthur Miller. The main objective that the author tries to show from that drama is how feeble the human beings can be and how gluttony of personal gain can become dangerous in the current society. During the early times of 1600’s, people believed that if you did not go to church each week to adore God, then it was obvious that you were worshipping the devil. But according to the play, accusations of witchcraft or devil worshipping began with a group of girls who were held dancing in the forests. This was an illegal act according to the rules of theocracy in the town of Salem. However, among the group there was a young girl, seventeen years old by the name Abigail Williams and she really attempted to stimulate the trouble in that town. Abigail Williams is a cruel and mean person who at all times wants her way, regardless of who or what gets in her way. She is the main character who is based on the witch trials of 1692 in the town of Salem, Massachusetts. All through the play, her deceits, falsehoods and accusation result suffering and pain to numerous people of Salem but she never care any person except her ex-lover, John proctor who she had an affair with six months before the play began. Although John Proctor had shown her that their love affair was over when she was thrown away, Abigail still believed that she love him and she expected the same from Proctor (Miller 23).

            The affair between Abigail and Proctor started when she was an employee in the house of Proctor but later when Proctor’s wife, Elizabeth discovered the affair, Abigail was thrown out of that house. Abigail was an orphan because her parents were brutally murdered when she was a child (Miller 20). After that painful experience, she was raised by her villain uncle, Reverend Parris, who was a widower and had no interest in children as stated in page 3. This means that Abigail Williams was raised up without any nurturing or love from her uncle. She grew up to be disloyal, deceitful without any trustworthiness. That is the reason she had a love affair with John Proctor and it reached a time when she wanted to murder Elizabeth with a curse because she believed that if Elizabeth was dead then she could be married by Proctor. Later in the play, we learn that Proctor’s slave, Mary Warren was the first person to be falsely accused by Abigail William in the process of attempting to kill Elizabeth. (Miller 245).

            Abigail falsely accuses Mary and in the courtroom, she changes the moods by laying blame on someone else. This makes all the girls who were there to follow her. Since she was scared for her life, she could absolutely do anything in order to avoid being reported guilty of adultery and witchcraft which could have resulted to hung verdict (Miller 246). When John Proctor refuses to confess on his accusations about witchcraft, he is hung and this makes the people of Salem to realize that there was a trick because Abigail later ran away from the town of Salem. In this case we can learn that Abigail William is harsh and selfish individual who wants her way no matter who or what gets in her way because she achieved what she wanted and finally ran away from that town (Miller 48).

            Consequently, it reached a time when Abigail feared her life was in danger and he started accusing the townspeople of Salem with Witchcraft. Since she was found with other girls in the forest dancing, which was against the theocracy of Salem town, the expectations were possibly to be hanged. She began to claim that the reason why they acted so, it was because they were bewitched and to prove that, they started naming the people who were “devil worshippers” (Miller 19-20). The innocent people of Salem are accused and sentenced of witchcraft on the most ridiculous testament. Therefore it meant that anyone who was connected to any issue of witchcraft was doubted and distrusted. To escape such trouble, Abigail applies intimidations to direct her girlfriends to reply precisely as she does in order to persuade authorities that they saw spirits (Miller 20). She already known that her girlfriends will respond according to her expectations and that could make the authorities of the court to be conditioned thus accepting her accusations. The court stresses the people of Salem to represent proves to show that the accused has acted in a way that may be deduced as of witchcraft and whether they are commemorations of their neighbors or their own activities (Miller 108). However, those citizens who tried to present petitions proving the good character of their accused neighbors and friends were considered as suspects therefore being thrown into prison. If anyone of the accused refused to plead on his/her accusations, the sentence was death and those who tries to reason on the accusation was disapproved. The court decides that there is no one who is guiltless meaning that most of the witnesses were forced to make untrue revelations in order to be on the side of the accused.


            Nevertheless, the main cause behind the witch trials is Abigail Williams. Bearing in mind the facts about her distressing childhood life, her love for John and terror for her life it is possible to deduce that it was the fault of Abigail for the tragedy to occur in the town of the Salem. Her deceitfulness almost makes her impractical because she practices witchcraft in order to win back her lover, Proctor, she laid false evidence of witchcraft in Elizabeth’s home with a hope to direct her to the scaffolds and she persuades young women to dance in the woods which was an illegal act. The writer progresses from sightseeing the unconscious to exploring the unconditioned and raw responses that go deeper than basic desires and ambitions, particularly when challenged with ones’ mortality. A deduction can also be made that the more Abigail Williams learnt how to use her interim capabilities to upset the townspeople, the more she appreciated the power she had. Abigail Williams collects the information necessary to style the position of supremacy for herself. Although there are other characters who contributed on witch trials, Abigail Williams is the one to blame for the entire occurrence because of her deceitfulness, falseness and untrustworthiness. As the terrible person that she was, Abigail Williams struggled and managed to get her way no matter whom she hurt, and unluckily in the conclusion she did.


Miller, Arthur, and Maureen Blakesley. The Crucible. Oxford: Heinemann Educational, 1992. Print.

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