Integrity is something people either have or they don’t. Every day someone is being put the test on whether they are going to stick to their morals and the truth, or if they are going to cave into social pressures and change themselves for what the general population wants. Having integrity is a strong characteristic and not a lot of people have it. Arthur Miller, author of The Crucible, uses the character Abigail to show how one sacrifices their integrity in order to preserve themselves in the face of social pressures. Abigail shows this by blaming others to preserve herself, lie more to save herself, and succumb to the repercussions of her actions.
When people have suspicion of a certain person, that person blames others to preserve himself of herself. On page 43, Act One Abigail exclaims; “She made me do it! She made Betty do it!”. Abigail is blaming Tituba for something she and all the other girls wanted to do. Everyone suspected Abigail of doing bad and lying, so to save herself she blamed Tituba to the so called “witchcraft”. This creates a domino effect because when people get accused of something they did, some will do everything in their power to avoid the consequences. And this chain of lying continues with the wrongly accused blaming others and so on. Blaming and the act of lying easily get out of control and eventually lead to something unwanted by everyone.
We’ve all done it before at an adolescent age, we’ve lied to cover ourselves and when we get called on it we lie more in an attempt to save ourselves. And we all know in turn this only digs the hole that we were already in deeper. On page 117, in Act Three, Abigail finds herself in court in a slightly different position than she is used to. She is now on the accused side being tried for lying to the court. And of course she tries to continue the lying. “Pointing upwards: The wings! Her wings are spreading! Mary, please, don’t, don’t-!” When people grow into the habit of lying, they find it hard to ever come clean. This leads them to lie even more and in the case of Abigail in The Crucible the people of the town continues to believe her more and more. It’s a slippery slope that seems to have no end.
With whatever actions you take, there are always repercussions. On page 126 Act Four, Abigail has fled and her uncle Parris says; “Excellency, I think they be aboard a ship. Danforth stands agape. My daughter tells me how she heard them speaking of ships last week, and tonight I discover my – my strongbox is broke into. He presses his fingers against his eyes to keep back tears.” Lying to the entire town led Abigail down a road of wrong-doing which kept getting steeper and steeper. Abigail steals from her uncle, and ends up running away from everyone, which is the opposite of what she wanted to do from the start. Here you see the prolonged effects of what lying causes.
Abigail did not have any integrity. She lied, stole, and ran away when she was under social pressure. She strived for everyone’s approval, and sought out blaming others to receive it. She didn’t care who got in the way, and did whatever she could to stay out of trouble. Integrity is something she never had because lying had always been her first resort to escape from trouble. Integrity means to adhere to moral or ethnic principles and Abigail failed to do this throughout the play.