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How does Arthur Miller show the audience that Abigail is not to be trusted

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Discuss how does Arthur Miller establishes the character and motivation of Abigail Williams in Act 1, and how he shows the audience that she is not to be trusted. Arthur Miller wrote 'The Crucible' in the 1950's during the Cold War. The play is a study in the mass hysteria which led to the 1692 Salem witchcraft trials. It shows the consequences of being accused as a witch. The reason for a witch hunt is because it is a sign of the devil and in Salem no one is more superior than God. The people of the town live for God, respect God and die even for God. Abigail Williams is the main character in 'The Crucible'. She is 17 but despite her age she is very deceitful, fraudulent and malicious. She only cares about herself and will do anything to get what she wants even if it means lying when in the house and court of God. The way that Arthur Miller shows us that Abigail is not to be trusted throughout the play is by the use of language, the stage directions and the way she contradicts herself. In the first few introductory lines Arthur Miller describes Abigail as 'A strikingly beautiful girl, an orphan, with an endless capacity for dissembling' this instantly makes the reader form a negative opinion of Abigail and makes them suspicious of her character. ...read more.


This shows the reader that Abigail is in charge and ordering, she tells others what to do in order to save herself. Mercy then asks Abigail "And what more?" this clearly tells the audience that there are more revelations to come, and it confirms that Abigail's word is not to be trusted. Betty subsequently wakes and tells her (and the reader), "You drank blood Abby! ... You drank a charm to kill John Proctor's wife!" Abigail in response to this smashes Betty across the face, the violence of Abigail's response is s measure of her fear and she warns Betty "You never say that again! ... Shut it!" Abigail struggles to take control of the situation telling the girls that "We danced, and Tituba conjured Putnam's dead sisters. That is all!" Abigail then threatens the girls and tells them that she will come to them "In the black of some terrible night" if they dare say anymore, and she shall bring "A pointy reckoning" that will "shudder" them. She reminds them that she saw Indians smash her parents head on the pillow next to her and she adds "I can make you wish you'd never seen the sun go down!" Here the audience is shown that Abigail is very threatening and dangerous, she cannot be trusted and if something does not go her way she will get revenge. ...read more.


When Abigail hears Reverend Hale tell Tituba "Open yourself ... You are God's instrument put in our hands to discover the Devil's agents among us ... God will protect you!" She sees this as a way out for herself so she shouts! I want to open myself!" She repeats Tituba's accusations against Sarah Good and Goody Osburn and adds the name Bridget Bishop, and then Betty 'with great relief' (as she was only pretending to be bewitched) wakes and accuses Martha Bellows. From all of this it is made extremely clear than Abigail is a deceitful, devious, fraudulent girl and she should never ever be trusted. To conclude Arthur Miller shows us in the stage directions and in the way Abigail changes her behaviour depending on who she is with, that she's a liar and she will say anything to get out of being punished. She knows she is not the sort of girl people in Salem would approve of and she knows she will be punished if her affair with John Proctor is discovered. We also know Abigail's obsessed with John Proctor and she despises his wife. Her cruelty is revealed in the way she treats Betty, threatens other girls and accuses Tituba in order to save herself and this is the way Miller shows how Abigail is not to be trusted. ?? ?? ?? ?? G.C.S.E English Coursework - The Crucible Aisling O'Dea Candidate Number: 0152 ...read more.

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