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

    This man is killing his neighbor for their land!" (96) Thomas Putnam values his lands and assets more than he should and it is this greed of his that leads to the loss of innocent lives. Parris, on the other hand, never accuses anyone of witchcraft and yet he is

  2. Why Did Arthur Miller Call His Play 'The Crucible'?

    In both texts people were separated into 'pure' and 'impure' characters e.g. the parents of Romeo and Juliet are impure because they keep fighting with each other for no reason apart from their reputation. Also Romeo and Juliet are the pure characters throughout the play because they still stood up

  1. The Crucible by Arthur Miller - Abigail Williams - Character Study.

    When Betty, Abigail's cousin of nine or ten years of age starts grabbling about the charm Abigail smashes her across the face and when Mary Warren starts again she advances for her before John Proctor enters. This scene illustrates how immensely intimidating Abigail is capable of being, before they depart

  2. Intolerance of Authority Versus Individual Freedom and Integrity "The Crucible" by Arther Miller ...

    She wants to cleans her self of sins and tell proctor she will confess in court. At court Marry begins her confession but it is hard. She doesn't seem confident enough to accuse her best friends of fraud, but she goes on.

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

    believe him saying why would he throw away his own good name if he did not speak true, 'A man will not cast away his good name. You surely know that.' Here Proctor shows admirable strength of character, destroying his own name and reputation to expose Abigail's lies and save his wife and neighbours.

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

    The trials were flawed and even the jury was lying. This is linked to the McCarthy period because Joe McCarthy blamed others for communism to settle his grudges and rivalries against him. Abigail Williams is the niece of Reverend Parris.

  1. The Crucible - Abigail

    friends that she "saw Indians smash [her] dear parents' heads on the pillow next to [her]," and she has "seen some reddish work done at night". This gives some background on Abby's life as not very easy and gives us some compassion towards her as she does have a reason for acting like she does.

  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