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Abigail Williams is a young girl, who is fed up with the unexciting puritan life. She starts to seek out ways of breaking the rules, no matter what the punishment. One way of doing this is by having an affair with John Proctor, who is married to Elizabeth Proctor. The reason that all of the witchcraft rumours are started is because a group of girls are seen dancing in the woods, but Abigail uses these rumours to manipulate people into believing other members of the community are “interacting with the devil”.
This is her way of having revenge on her ex-lover John and his “sickly wife” (Page 18). Abigail is a normal teenage girl who falls in love with a man that she can’t have as her own. The one difference between her and many normal 17 yr olds is that her jealousy, and that of many others in the village, results in the deaths of 20 innocent people. Abigail first appears in the play in the first scene.
From the first moment she speaks you can tell she thinks she is superior to all those around her. She speaks with power and control, “Speak nothin’ of it in the village, Susanna.
” (Page 7). She uses no politeness; it’s an order not a suggestion. Throughout this scene she is forceful, giving advice. However, when she is in the room with all of the other girls, she is still in control, but she is more threatening. “Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you.
And you know I can do it. ” (Page 15). This shows she is prepared to do anything to keep them quiet.
She uses the words, “You know I can do it”, so that the girls believe her threats are not empty. As a member of the audience, you feel very tense as you don’t know if, or when, Abigail is going to see her threats through. Throughout the play Abigail is the leader of the girls, in the courts she is the first to point out “The Devil” or his familiars. All of the girls seem to look up to her, but really they are just afraid she will accuse them of being witches if they stand up to her, as Mary Warren found out. When Abigail is with the other girls, she plays up.
I think this is because Miller wanted you too really see Abigail’s change in character, because it makes you question everything she says, and does, in the play. When people are talking in the play Miller leaves out the endings of some words, so when you read it you imagine they have an accent. The way that Miller shows that the play is set in 1692 is by using simple words. Instead of no they say nay, and instead of yes they say Aye. This makes it more believable to the audience because they think they are watching something that might really have happened. This makes it more dramatic.
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