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The Crucible Analysis

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Introduction

Under Pressure The name Abigail, meaning "a father's joy" or "great joy" (Abigail) is ironic to the Abigail in the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller. In a biblical sense, Abigail is described as "'good in discretion and beautiful in form'" (Abigail). However, Abigail Williams in The Crucible is a complete opposite to the definition of her name, which makes her the antagonist of the play. This play, set in Massachusetts during the Salem witch trials of 1692, revolves around suspicions of the Devil and the accusations of witchcraft. Abigail stirs up havoc in the town by creating false accusations and causing the man that she loves, John Proctor, great strife by ruining his wife's life. Abigail intends to destroy John and Elizabeth Proctor's marital status and cause intense fury to this melting pot of Salem. Abigail's choices may seem very tyrannical and malevolent, but she is merely a victim of her society. She is subjected to the unethical and licentious fabric of her society: the government and the church. Because of Puritanism, its morals, the hysteria of the Salem witch trials, and some jealousy, it has made Abigail Williams defenseless to becoming afflicted by the uncontrollable pressures of her surroundings and eventually loses her "name" to the town of Salem. During the Salem witch trials, life was strictly abided by and being a witch was considered to be heresy according to Salem's Puritan values. ...read more.

Middle

The use of irony in The Crucible illustrates Abigail's persona and makes her seem so much more awful than she truly is. Despite the fact that she commits adultery and witchery, she is still able to avoid the death penalty. Many innocent people who did not commit any crime die instead of her. Even though the accusations of her doing witchcraft are true, the town of Salem believes the false accusations. Like her name and the various ironic situations mentioned, she is not as diabolical as she seems, which alludes to a time during the Salem witch trials, when everyone was scared of Lucifer and always had a fear that people would consider them his accomplices. Likewise, in The Crucible, Abigail accuses innocent people of Salem in order to protect herself from being called a witch claiming, "I saw Goody Hawkins with the Devil!" (Miller 51). Furthermore, she accuses other people of witchcraft, who are the least suspecting of witchcraft. Life and times during the Salem witch trials were so morally incorrect that it elevated Abigail's intentions from bad to worse. Abigail believes that Salem is just a fabrication of what the town is meant to be. Because of the Salem witch trials, Salem was, during that time, nothing but nonsense. Abigail speaks about her attitudes toward Salem when she states, "I never knew what pretense Salem was, I never knew the lying lessons I was taught by all these Christian women and their covenanted men!" ...read more.

Conclusion

Being victimized leads her to do monstrous acts and unnecessary killings, but she has brought it upon herself by making selfish mistakes. She chooses the actions that she performs and falling into the pressure of being the victim is no excuse. She has lost the war that she has started and has received nothing in return for her hardship. In addition, she may have won the battles, but her selfishness is the major flaw that leads to her demise. Abigail is not "a father's joy" or a "great joy" (Abigail). She is not "good in discretion and beautiful in form" (Abigail). She is a woman ready to abolish her enemies in an instant. She is a victim of her society and is incapable of having a clear mind to make correct decisions. The Crucible tells the story of how a lustful girl becomes the essence of Lucifer himself. Abigail lies and manipulates until she gets what she wants, which leads to her steady downfall. Her selfishness goes beyond being victimized which is a driving force to her rebellious acts. Puritans and their belief system are very radical and Puritanism in Salem causes Abigail to lose control of her morals and values. Because of where she lives, the dynamic of her situation is based on the degree of stupidity the government has on the supernatural. Due to the circumstances, Abigail is the villain, the antagonist, whose name is not given justice and is but "a great despair. ...read more.

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