• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent was Abigail Williams responsible for the Salem witch trials? In Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible".

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent was Abigail Williams responsible for the Salem witch trials? In Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible" Abigail Williams plays a big part in the Salem witch trials. Although this is so, there were many other factors and people who contributed to the Salem witch trials and the subsequent tragic deaths of those accused. Factors such as the community, the court, and other factors related to personal vendettas and situations played an equally big part in the horrible events of the Salem witch trials. The play "Crucible" was written in the 1950s, although set in late 1600s in Salem village Massachusetts. The play is based on real life events, through the use of legal records some of the facts have been changed but most of them are similar to the actual events. Abigail Williams a 17 year old orphan seems to be the centre of the events that took place in 1692 in the small town of Salem. In the play she has a lot of influence on the events. At the beginning of the play we find Betty Parris in bed unconscious and later realise the cause. Abigail Williams and her friends Mercy Lewis, Ruth Putnam, the slave girl Tituba and Abigail's cousin Betty had been dancing in the woods. Mary Warren another friend of Abigail's was watching the others, where Abigail drank a blood charm to kill Elizabeth Proctor, who we meet later. "You drank blood Abby" "You drank a charm to kill John Proctor's wife! You drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor!" ...read more.

Middle

When Abigail is asked, she denies it and puts on such a performance that Mary takes her confession back and goes as far as to say "Abby, Abby, I'll never hurt you more!" But we can't hold Abigail Williams entirely responsible for her actions, as we find that Abigail had, had a dreadful childhood. She saw her parents being murdered in front of her. "I saw Indians smash my dear parents' heads on the pillow next to mine...." So her being an orphan, it couldn't have been easy to live without her parents since childhood, not only that the girl had seen her parents being murdered which as we all know can be traumatising for the best of us, let alone a child. Having Parris as a guardian couldn't have helped things either. So from these facts we can gather that Abigail wasn't a normal person like you and me but may well have been psychotic. We also know that she had been seduced by a 35 year old, married man, John Proctor. We know she had fallen in love with him. Some of the things she does it out of her love for John Proctor "I look for John Proctor that took me from my sleep and put and put knowledge in my heart!" like accusing Elizabeth Proctor, although extreme, but out of love. The lies she tells, about her dancing and doing nothing else, were lies to save her self from being hanged. She did not want to die and so for that reason she lied. ...read more.

Conclusion

We know there were other factors and people who supported and played a big part in the trials. We also know that a lot of it was to settle old grudges and to deal with individuals personal vendettas. Still we cannot deny the fact that Abigail was the main reason for these witch trials. The drinking of the blood charm and dancing and heaven knows what else and then being discovered started the talk of witchcraft and after that, one after the other, the drastic events of the Salem witch trials unfolded. In my opinion I feel that Abigail was to blame somewhat although I would not blame her entirely. Living in a strict community and having seen terrible things happen in front of her as a child could definitely not have helped her behaviour and mentality. I myself would also hold responsible the court and people like the Putnam's and the Walcott's and also Parris, to some extent, for the trials. Not really for being a cause for starting them as such, although I do think they played some part, but mainly for contributing to them after they had started. As for Abigail, her behaviour cannot be excused, yet we can try and understand why she did what she did. We know that a lot of it had to do with her obsession with Proctor but if we were to look just beneath the surface we would find that, at least in my opinion, that Abigail was somewhat mentally psychotic in some ways and really needed a good and loving home to support her after the murder of her parents to have prevented her from her terrible deeds. By Kausar Hussain 10S ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Arthur Miller essays

  1. Discuss the role that grudges and rivalries play within The Crucible by Arthur Miller

    Abigail Williams has a grudge against Elizabeth Proctor. Abigail is an aggressive woman, "I'll beat you Betty!" From this, the audience can tell how far Abigail will go to get out of trouble. In addition to this, we recognise how cruel and selfish she is.

  2. Human Motivation in the Crucible. Abigail, Thomas Putnam, and Reverend Parris are among those ...

    He further adds to this by claiming the entire witch trials are nothing but "a whore's vengeance." (102) Thomas Putnam, a wealthy and influential figure, also plays a major role in the witch hunts.

  1. In the Crucible, Arthur Miller shows us how fear and suspicion can destroy a ...

    Tituba, afraid of being hanged, confesses her faith in God and accuses Goody Good and Goody Osborne of witchcraft. This is where everything goes from bad to worse as more and more innocent and godly people are blamed. Throughout the community, word of the supposed "witchcraft" begins to leak out under the immediate concern of Rev.

  2. To what extent can John Proctor be described as a tragic hero in Arthur ...

    The characters above are, in my eyes, far more of a tragic hero than Proctor. They died for their beliefs, and showed no signs of braking in the face of death. The contrast between their unwillingness to give in to evil and Proctors readiness too, really emphasizes that he is far from a stereotypical tragic hero.

  1. To what extent can 'The Crucible' be viewed as a Classical Tragedy?

    Proctor also shows himself to be morally elevated and admirable at the end of the novel when he hangs, not only saving his own name and that of his wife and children but that of the other innocents who are to be hung, by hanging himself he does not name

  2. "The Crucible" - John Proctor says, "I'll tell you what's walking Salem, vengeance is ...

    would have no idea of the characteristics of Parris, which are described above, so when Parris first appears I am not biased towards him, and, in fact pity him as he kneels helplessly at the bedside of his daughter, although this feeling does not last long.

  1. The Crucible - Abigail

    As soon as Tituba comes into the room and Abigail sees a chance to get herself out of trouble she shouts, "She made me do it! She made Betty do it!" without the slightest worry for keeping other people safe.

  2. The Crucible. How far is Abigail responsible for the events that ensue in ...

    The audience will perhaps feel sympathy for Tituba, who truly is defenceless, and is ultimately and inevitably destined to die in act four by Abigail?s selfish actions here in act one.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work