Arthur miller states that Abigail Williams is “the prime mover in the Salem hysteria”. Discuss her importance, both as a character, and in terms of dramatic fusion on stage The author Arthur Miller wrote ‘The crucible’ in the 1950’s, during which, a government party carried out a series of trials called the McCarthy trials challenging communism.
Using the Salem witch trials as paradox to the author’s modern day McCarthyism and similarly the impossible task of man to balance order with freedom; he made this vital link to open minds to a dysfunctional and unjust system and the reality of the corrupt government. Arthur Miller was later convicted of contempt of Congress after the play was published. ‘The Crucible’ is based on the Puritans’ lifestyles of 1692 Salem Massachusetts and, the then current affairs affecting their community; all ultimately causing the Salem hysteria and, both the witch hunts and trials that followed.
Although many characters in the play stoked the fire that spread to the Salem hysteria and, consequently the death of many, there was one person who was the trigger, one character whose deviousness remained undetected for so long, a complex character whom determines the tragic fate of innocent people while her actions themselves at first are glorified. Throughout this essay diverse key characters are explored, however Abigail William, conversely not the main character, is the most significant to Salaam hysteria.
Furthermore she brings about both the downfall and death of the main charter John Procter, making her his hamartia and of fundamental importance to the outcome of the crucible. The relationship between Reverend Parris, a man of the church and grate importance, and Abigail his niece are key to the hysterias; there relationship is a constant dynamic that encourages Abigail’s perceived necessity to deceive both her uncle, the rest of the court and the majority of Salem.
There are quotes that shows this an example of one is ‘Now give me an upright answer. Your name in the town-it entirely white, is it not? … I herd it said she will not sit so close to something soiled. ‘ Firstly this quote shows that parries and Abigail are not close, as the Parris has to force her to confide in him. Secondly this closeness seems more distance as Parris bouts Abigail, this is suggested as he is questioning her if she is soiled, implying her past actions were unclean and dirty.
a quote that shows Abigail’s personality likewise how this effects there relationship ‘we danced uncle let you tell them we danced Parris is constantly trying to pressure her for a response and this unrelenting mention of her past degrading failings forces Abigail to give him an answer that gets her in the clear and free from this blackening gossip. There connection is one of stubborn similarity and conflicting differences that persist contribute to the start of the witch trials A quote that shows this is ‘Now look you, child, your punishment will come in time.
But it if you trafficked with spirits in the forest I must know it now, for surly my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it ‘ this shows that they are similar as they both use strong persuasion such as guilt and intimidation to get what they want. The author’s use of the name, ‘child’ to remind Abigail of her rightful yet status bellow the reverend whether abgail acknowledges it or not. The puritan’s extreme religious rules and view and consequently the same restrictions suggested by the author in relation to communism are a key reason as to why Abigail lies and consequently the hysteria which continued to develop.
‘The Crucible’ opens into the Reverend house with his daughter Betty lying in bed, inert. Previous to this moment, young girls from the village had been dancing and singing secretly through the woods, any kind of enjoyment is forbidden. In response to their outrageous behaviors the astounded john hail shows us this in the quotes, ‘I discovered her [indicating Abigail] – and ten or twelve of the other girls, dancing in the forest’ -‘You permit dancing? -‘No, no sir, it was secret’.