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The Crucible. How far is Abigail responsible for the events that ensue in act three and four?

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Introduction

´╗┐How far is Abigail responsible for the events that ensue in act three and four? Abigail Williams is responsible to a great extent for the events that ensue in act three and four. She uses imperative, aggressive language and exclamatives to force the other characters to comply with her will, which directs the events of acts three and four. She exclaims in act three, ?Mr Danforth, he is lying!? when John Proctor confesses his adultery with her. Her use of language here is intriguing, not only because she lies fearlessly in court, but because she vehemently denies the accusation, forcefully proclaiming her innocence to the court. The force with which she speaks is highlighted by the use of an exclamation mark, onstage this would be powerfully said by the actress portraying Abigail, increasing her credibility with the judges onstage, but reducing her credibility with the audience, as from the past appearances, it is blatant that she uses her power when she is feeling vulnerable, shown in act one where she is ?shaking Betty? violently to wake her when she believes she may be accused of witch craft. ...read more.

Middle

In addition, Abigail uses the context within which she appears to influence other characters and alter the direction of the play, thus making her responsible to some extent for the events that arise in acts three and four. She manipulates Danforth, using his preconceptions of children against him to influence his decisions. Throughout the text, Danforth refers to Abigail as ?Child?, showing that he views her as a child, not as the adult that she is. Abigail encourages this belief, never correcting him as she corrects John Proctor in act one, when he refers to her as a ?child?. She portrays herself as the obedient, subservient youth, willing to acquiesce to Danforth?s requests, fulfilling all of the criteria implied by Danforth when he addresses her as ?child?. This deceptive behaviour convinces Danforth of her innocence and purity, and Miller comments in his narration that at this time, it was ?never conceived that children were anything but thankful to for being permitted to walk straight, eyes slightly lowered? and with their ?mouths shut until bidden to speak?. ...read more.

Conclusion

Perhaps this is symbolic, employed by Miller that once you belong to a group with evil and selfish intent, you cannot break free, that your previous actions cannot be forgotten by the state within which Mary and Miller exist, and that the truth will not be heard over people?s prejudices. Mary is broken by this cruelty, and turns on Proctor, confessing falsely to compacting with the devil. Abigail?s character itself is incredibly selfish, and it is this selfishness that results in the events of act three and four, rendering Abigail almost entirely responsible for these events. Abigail?s only aim is to free herself from the possibility of being blamed for witchcraft. She completes this aim by accusing others, as seen in act one, and blackmails the other girls into working with her. She threatens them with violence in act one, vowing that if they disobey her she will ?bring a pointy reckoning? upon them; it is this aggressive warning guarantees that their compliance and helps her achieve her selfish goals. ...read more.

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