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Look at Miller's presentation of Abigail in 'The Crucible'. How realistic is his presentation of her as a controller?

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Introduction

Rosie Oliver 10T2 10U1 Look at Miller's presentation of Abigail in 'The Crucible'. How realistic is his presentation of her as a controller? In Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible', Abigail Williams is presented as a controller of many of the key characters. Abigail can successfully manipulate and control many of the characters because she is described as being; '...a strikingly beautiful girl, an orphan, with an endless capacity for dissembling'. Her beauty allows her to influence others as they are intimidated by, and in awe of, her beauty. Having beauty gains power as people are basically shallow and want to be seen with the good-looking person, as they may then be associated with beauty. 'An endless capacity for dissembling' simply means that she has a natural talent for wrapping people around her little finger. The fact that Abigail is an orphan suggests that she uses the pity of others to influence them. People sympathise with her because her parents were killed and allow her to get away with a lot of things, as they think that she has had enough bad experience and don't want to reprimand her. The fact that she witnessed her parents' murder by Red Indians also gives her kudos as it is as though she has been into the darkness and all the things that the girls are afraid off as survived. ...read more.

Middle

'[Feverishly looking into his eyes]' suggests that Abigail has not simply used John to elevate her status amongst the girls and for fun, she truly does desire him. When desire and pity fail to gain John's affections, Abigail becomes desperate, '[Clutching him desperately]' and 'John, pity me, pity me!'. Abigail's manipulative nature is shown again when she changes from '[with bitter anger]' to '[in tears]' in the space of a few lines. This shows that she is adaptable and can choose the emotion best suited to get her own way in each situation. '[Since Proctor's entrance, Abigail has stood as though on tiptoe, absorbing his presence, wide-eyed. He glances at her then goes to Betty on the bed]'. This shows that although she is giving him her full attention and obviously still desires him, he merely glances at her. This is more evidence to suggest that Proctor is the only one that can succeed, even a little, at controlling Abigail as he clearly makes her nervous as she has been confident and outspoken up to that point. During the scene between Proctor and Abigail, Proctor only shows any sign of reciprocating her feelings at the start with some mild flirting. As the scene progresses he repeatedly denies any desire for her. She cannot believe this; 'You're surely sporting with me!' ...read more.

Conclusion

She knows that she will be found as a fraud soon, so decides to leave rather than accept responsibility. Miller's 'The Crucible' is very much based around the actions of Abigail Williams and the affect one girl can have on a whole society. Miller has confessed that it is Abigail's involvement in the story that got him interested in the first place. Abigail's motive seems to be her sense of hostility towards Elizabeth as she fails to usurp her and take her place on John's arm. This, however, is not her only motive. Her ability to control those around her to the point of murder is one of these, as she likes to push people until they snap. It seems that Abigail enjoys controlling those around her and the power she has found as she has grown into an adolescent that she can wield over men and women alike. Although it is not specifically stated, Abigail's viewing of her parent's murder would have unsettled her, which may be the reason why she feels so little remorse at sending innocent people to their deaths in her pursuit of John Proctor. Abigail is an alarming character, as it is hard to comprehend that a seventeen year old girl could exert such absolute power over a group of seemingly sensible grown men. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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