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How does the character and language of Abigail Williams contribute to the dramatic effect of the "crucible"

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Introduction

Tom Reid 10DNG How does the character and language of Abigail Williams contribute to the dramatic effect of the "crucible"? Arthur Miller was a leading American playwright of several decades with such acclaimed works as 'Death of a Salesman' and 'The Man Who Had All the Luck to His Name'. Apart from The Crucible Arthur Millers works are set in America in the 1940s and 1950s. The Crucible is set around the Salem witchcraft trails of 1692 and the McCarthy witch-hunts in the 1950s. The two key characters in the Crucible are John Proctor a local farmer and Abigail Williams a seventeen-year-old servant girl who previously worked for John Procter and his wife Elizabeth; in this time she developed a deep passion for John and would do what ever it took to get him for herself. John Procter is stern, harsh tongued man who dislikes hypocrisy. However he succumbs to having an affair with Abigail Williams, showing he has his own hidden sin. Later in the play however he distances himself from Abigail to protect his reputation and standing within the village. Abigail lives with her uncle the Reverent Parris and his daughter Betty. ...read more.

Middle

She believed that with Elizabeth out of the way that she could make John love her again. In this period being accused of witchcraft the sentence carried out was to be put to death. I feel that this is a key part in the play as it shows the power of Abigail's influence and the dramatic effect that she brings even when she is not on stage. In act two, Reverent Hale appears; he is on good terms with the Proctors and reputed to be an expert in witchcraft. He is called to Salem to examine Betty, Parris daughter; Hale is a devoted Christian and hates witchcraft. His presence causes further hysteria, John Proctor tries to get him to over turn the decision that the court made to arrest Elizabeth Proctor on suspicion of witchcraft, however Hale says "God help me, I can not judge her guilty or innocent - I know not." Elizabeth was arrested on the grounds that a doll or 'poppet' as it is referred was discovered in her home. However later he regrets his actions and later tried to save the accused. After these events John fears that Abigail will show up at his home and cause further problems however Abigail never turns up. ...read more.

Conclusion

I feel these scenes in the play give a great amount of dramatic effect directly instigated by the character of Abigail Williams. The language of the play is almost biblical and Abigail is almost like a biblical Jezebel character, driven by sexual desire and her lust for power. Her language and the language of the whole play are plain, simple and concise yet quite figurative in places although her language is simple Miller often has her rambling and repeating phrases as on page 23 "And you must. You are no wintry man. I know you, John. I know you. I cannot sleep for dreamin', I cannot dream but I wake and walk about the house as though I'd find you comin' through some door." This passage also shows emotion but from other parts of the play we can see that Abigail is far from emotional but it conveys to us the deceitfulness in her character. Also by repeating the phrases it gives us the idea that Abigail is not so well educated and has to think what she is about to say. Her reference about the way John Proctor "sweated like a stallion" is both a simile and yet crude and simple leaving a definite image in the minds of the audience. ...read more.

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