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How does Miller build up the character of Abigail? How do you feel Miller wishes the audience to react to her?

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Introduction

How does Miller build up the character of Abigail? How do you feel Miller wishes the audience to react to her? "The Crucible" is a play based upon the events that occurred in Salem circa 1690s. The witch trials were not just in America, but occurred in Europe too. Arthur Miller wrote this play, and also wrote the screenplay for the movie based on his play script. This has been produced in theatres countless times, as it is so dramatic, and appeals to audiences. We are introduced to the character of Abigail Williams in the very first scene. This shows that she is a pivotal character in the play. She's introduced as the niece of the Reverend of Salem: "Seventeen, enters - a strikingly beautiful girl, an orphan, with an endless capacity for dissembling." Therefore, on the very first page, the readers of the play form an opinion of Abigail that audiences would not have. The readers of the play also know that Abigail is an orphan. We also find out that Abigail has witnessed the bloody murder of her parents, by Native Americans. We first realise this when Abigail mentions this when she speaks to "the girls" in Act One. "I saw Indians smash my dear parents' heads, on the pillow next to mine." I believe that Miller mentions Abigail's past on an attempt to get the audience/readers to sympathise with Abigail. ...read more.

Middle

When we are first introduced Abigail, she seems like a quiet young lady, who doesn't speak out of turn, but is soft spoken, and takes small reserved steps, however, when she tells Susannah Walcott: "Speak nothing of it in the village." Her voice is hushed, and hurried. The fact that Abigail thinks that it is best not to speak of the situation shows that the situation is somewhat abnormal, or there is something to be hidden. Her quietness at the beginning enables both audiences to begin with a neutral view on Abigail. However, Miller's commentary on Abigail (page 1) states that she's strikingly beautiful, causing approval and instant attraction from the readers. It also states that she is an orphan, causing sympathetic reactions from readers. But, then it also states that Abigail has an endless capacity for dissembling, provoking the audience into a distrusting, disapproving state. Next, when Abigail is questioned by Parris about the events of the previous night, she seems innocent, for example: "A dress?" [Innocently] The theatre goes would see the look of innocence on her face, and hear a hint of a little girl's voice in Abigail, but readers would not trust her, due to the commentary on her. One simple line leads the theatregoers to trust Abigail further, despite the knowledge that Abigail knows what Parris is referring to. ...read more.

Conclusion

Abigail was seen as the strongest character in the play all along, however, at the end, she was revealed to be what Miller had been building up to, a scared little orphan. All the violence and confidence was just pretence, like Salem. She was a little girl who was attempting to run from her past, problems and sins. Miller develops her character well, showing every possible human emotion, and causing the audience to have a wide range of reactions to Abigail. In the end, the amount of sympathy the audience has outweighs everything else, and Abigail is stripped of her evil, and shown to be scared. In Act One alone, Abigail is seen as a lady like young woman, a caring cousin, a fierce, short tempered, violent girl, a seductress, and lover, and finally, a scared little girl. Proctor and the others all take advantage of Abigail, so then, she tries to take advantage of Betty and the other girls in return. In the end, Abigail is the victim, ho in turn causes there to be other victims in Salem. She is blamed and shifts the blame instead of accepting her punishment. The last reaction the audience has to Abigail, when she runs away, is to view her as a victim. This relates to McCarthyism. Those who were blamed (justly or unjustly) of having Communist/Satanic links blamed others, therefore saving themselves. These people were victims too, although they caused there to be other victims in the process. Tasneem Sadiq10A 1 ...read more.

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