Young Girls Gone Wild Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 22 May 2016

Young Girls Gone Wild

A crowd of young girls watched in awe when the lives of people in their town were cut short as they hanged, lifeless and cold their feet dangling just feet above the ground. One young lady was even smirking at the horrid sight as she came to realize her extreme actions had paid off. This young lady was Abigail Williams. Abigail was a 17 year-old girl. Through Abigail Williams a girl in The Crucible, the author, Arthur Miller describes his perception of young females during the time of the Salem Witch Trials making them out to be selfish, attention seeking, and manipulative individuals who are willing to go to great lengths to get what they want. Whether it be dancing around a fire, accusing others of witch craft, or inflicting self-harm, Abigail’s outrageous actions would were a major contribution to the chaos in the town of Salem. There are many different events in the play that show how teenage girls act during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. But all the chaos in the town of Salem seemed to have started with a few young girls. One particular young lady that comes to mind is Abigail Williams.

She went against the rules of the town and was caught dancing and singing in the woods, which was thought to be extremely bad during this time. It all began when Abby cried out “I saw Sara good with the devil! I saw goody Osborn with the devil, I saw Bridget Bishop with the devil!” (Miller 1235). Abby’s claims along with some other odd events sent the town into complete pandemonium. Abby’s questionable actions; dancing, singing, accusing others of witch craft, give the reader room to make assumptions about the characteristics of adolescent girls right from the start of the play. A specific event took place later act in act one. There had always been tension between Abby and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was the wife of John Proctor and had been suspicious of the relationship between Abby and John for some time. After a scandalous conversation took place involving John and Abby, and more and more people started being accused, Elizabeth began to come to conclusions about the real motive behind all the accusations. When speaking with her husband about Abby’s intentions, Elizabeth explains to Mr. Proctor, “She wants me dead John, and you know it” (Miller 1240).

Elizabeth has no doubts in her mind regarding Abigail’s ill intentions. She knows that Abby would be willing to take extreme actions to replace her as Mr. Proctor’s wife. At this point in the play Elizabeth looks to prove to John that the young 17 year-old girl was out to get her. This is just another way Arthur Miller coveys his thoughts about young women during this period of time, it shows Abby as self-centered and crazy. At the end of Act II, Elizabeth’s greatest fear had become true; she had been arrested for witch craft because of a claim made by Abigail Williams. At the beginning of the act Marry Warren has a poppet, which is a term for a handmade doll and hands it over to Abby. For Abby, this was the perfect opportunity to set up Elizabeth due to the fact that Marry Warren lives with the Proctor Family. When Marry isn’t looking Abby sticks a needle in the poppet and leaves it in the Proctor house. Just moments later Hale comes forward with shocking news that “Abigail were stabbed tonight, a needle was found stuck in her belly” (Miller 1246).

Later the needle is found in the Poppet at the Proctor house giving strong evidence to Abby’s claim, that Elizabeth stabbed her. Clearly Abby was plotting the arrest of Goody Proctor and she went as far as stabbing herself to get Elizabeth in trouble. Even an online source can agree that the message Miller is sending about young women is anything but positive, writers of an online article say “Abigail’s cunning is shown again in Act II when she frames Elizabeth Proctor for witch craft. Later in Act III she even accuses Proctor who she claims to love”(Shmoop). Although Abby is willing to justify stabbing her own self to be with Proctor, she still is quick to accuse him. This makes it clear that nothing was going to stop Abby from getting what she wanted. This quote also makes her sound delusional because she was okay with harming someone that she claimed to love. This is just another strong piece of evidence to prove the Arthur thought of young women as manipulative. As the play goes on Miller continues to convey his opinions or gender bias through Abby Williams. Different events continued to take place bringing the teenage girls into the spotlight. They seemed to be the center of attention for various reasons, but this did not seem to bother them in the least.

Abby bring drama to the town once again as she cries out to the court room, “I have been near murdered every day because I had done my duty pointing out the devils people-and this is my reward? To be mistrusted, denied, and questioned like-“ (Miller 1258). Abby is yet again playing the role of the victim. The people in the court start to become more aware of her vindictive behavior. She seems to always worry about herself which again, proves that Miller was trying to convey that young women were self-centered and manipulative. Toward the end of the play Abby began to realize that people were starting to catch onto her devious ways. Miller revealed “Abigail stole much of her uncle’s money in hopes of escaping with Proctor” (Slader).

The online source was describing her selfish ways by Abby taking a huge portion of her Uncles money, who had raised her, her entire life, to save her own self. This is just another quote that justifies Millers point of view of girls during the Salem Witch Trials. They were manipulative, self-centered, and crazy. There is no denying the way Miller felt about young teenage girls in Salem in the late 1600’s. His perspective on adolescent females during this time is clearly displayed through the character Abigail Williams. There are many pieces of strong evidence to support the claim of Millers gender bias and the actions Abigail takes are proof that the girls were manipulative, self-centered, and attention seeking.

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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 22 May 2016

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