Abigail Williams in Arthur Miller's The Crucible
Throughout the play “the Crucible,” we see the many different sides of
Abigail Williams’ character. Arthur Miller has created an interesting
and complex character with various personality traits, and her
controlling and manipulative nature becomes evident for the audience
during the very first scene.
Abigail is first introduced as “seventeen, a strikingly beautiful
girl, an orphan…”, already the audience is made to feel sorry for her
as we find out that she has no parents. Also, because we are told she
is full of “apprehension and worry,” leads us to like her because she
appears genuinely concerned for the well-being of her cousin. Already,
before she has even begun to speak, we have an opinion of Abigail, we
are attracted to her by her actions and because of her distressing
background we feel sympathy for her.
Soon, we find out Abigail and Betty were discovered dancing in the
forest by Parris, which is an action linked to witchcraft. This could
be an indication that Abigail is not what at first she might seem,
although the dancing could have been harmless. Abigail seems to be
innocent when she replies to Parris’ question with, “uncle, we did
dance….ill be whipped if I must be.” She realises she has done wrong
and is prepared to be punished, the audience still believe she is
harmless at this stage.
A little further on, we are led to question the character of Abigail
again. She has been continually defiant throughout this scene, and is
constantly denying the truth. Parris, her uncle, questions her saying,
“your name in the town-it is entirely white, is it not?” Abigail is
hesitant in her response, “there be no blush about my name, ”, this
proves that there is more to her character than what we already know.
Parris then asks her why she was “discharged from Goody Proctor’s
house”, which leads the audience to believe she may have done
something wrong, such as had an affair with Goody Proctor’s husband.
Again, Abigail denies these claims and condemns Goody Proctor as a
She soon manages to turn these allegations around, and asks her uncle,
“Do you begrudge my bed?” Here we are seeing the manipulative side of
her character, and her ability to influence what those around her
think and do. As an audience, at this stage we have a mixed opinion of
Abigail, and are unsure whether to like or dislike her. We still feel
sorry for her because of her background, but at the same time we see
the effects that her controlling and dominating nature can have on
those around her.
In the next scene, we see the complete control that Abigail has over
her peers and the other girls her age in Salem. She is threatening
towards Mary Warren and Mercy Lewis, “I can make you wish you had
never seen the sun go down…” which shows...