• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Crucible Analysis

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Arthur Miller essays

  1. How is Abigail presented in 'The Crucible'

    problem which was in the people as some of them liked to pretend and perhaps Abigail didn't like this type of behaviour so she lived her life as she pleased. She is an orphan who must support herself but Abigail Williams has a sense of supremacy over people in Salem

  2. How does Arthur Miller present The character of Reverend Hale in 'The Crucible'.

    But Arthur Miller quite clearly makes Hale reveal that he has just signed Rebecca Nurse's death warrant. Hale says in guilt: "I have this morning signed away the soul of Rebecca Nurse." This was the woman he was very much praising in the two earlier Acts.

  1. Act 4 of The Crucible provides a powerfully dramatic conclusion to the play. ...

    "Would you give them such a lie?! Say it, you would not. It is evil - and I do it!" Miller increases the tension by Proctors body language: (He moves as an animal and a fury are riding in him) the reader can almost hear his blood boil in desperation.

  2. There is no character in Acts 1-2 of 'The Crucible' who is Beyond Criticism. ...

    Therefore, how can we criticise Hale when he genuinely believes he is doing the work of God? The answer, given to us by Miller, is simple. Instead of merely dismissing the suggestion that "there are them that will swear to anything before they'll hang", he "resists it".

  1. Millers writing style in The Crucible portrays a story of suspense, action, and also ...

    The evil in Salem is portrayed by Abigail Williams, Danforth and Parris. The weakness in character of Salem's population is displayed by Mary Warren cracking under the immense pressure of interrogation by Danforth and Hathorne. Conflict is another crucial writing technique Miller uses to maintain the reader's interest.

  2. Article Analysis. When Arthur Millers The Crucible was being made into a movie, ...

    Whenever the word heart is used in writing or a speech, it always hits home with the audience. Alienated hearts describes enemies of the greater good, which uses pathos to strike fear in the audience?s hearts. This sentence by Miller effectively uses the reader?s emotions to get his point across.

  1. The Crucible Revision Notes

    From there, the logic is simple: the court does God?s work, and so an enemy of the court must, necessarily, be a servant of the Devil. 4. A man may think God sleeps, but God sees everything, I know it now.

  2. Character analysis of Reverend Parris in the play The Crucible

    not because of all the people who he's helped to senselessly murder, but because Abigail stole his money and he's now broke. PARRIS: No--no. There be no unnatural cause here. Tell him I have sent for Reverend Hale of Beverly, and Mr.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work