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Character Study Of Abigail Williams In Arthur Miller's The Crucible

1946 words - 8 pages

Character Study of Abigail From Arthur Miller's The Crucible Arthur Miller was inspired to write The Crucible because of what
happened in America in the 1950's. Suspicion of witchcraft and an
association with the Devil had arisen in the 1600s in Salem,
Massachsetts. The allegations and apprehension is comparable with the
period of McCarthyism in the United States of America. Joseph McCarthy
( the senator of West Virginia) focused on Democrats in general with
baseless and sweeping accusations of communist involvement, giving way
for the Republicans to take over Congress and the Presidency. Miller
was also taken into investigation, and was asked to name the people
who he thought were communists'. He refused to, because he believed
people should be given the right to believe in whatever they wanted to
believe in. The Political witch-hunt and the Salem trials were quite
similar because people that were accused were immediately seen as a
communist or a witch, without a trial or any other form of a court In
the fifties, the fear of McCarthyism was physical; the communist
threat was an actual threat, from a group of people. The hysteria
developed from the overreaction of the fear of the communist threat,
and was soon taken out of proportion similar to the Salem trials where
a large number of people were accused, of being witches who they
thought served the devil.

I think Arthur Miller created Abigail to show how just one person can
cause havoc and mass hysteria to a whole community.In addition Miller
wanted to point out that that those who were blamed (justly or
unjustly) of having Communist/Satanic links blamed others, therefore
saving themselves. These people were victims too, although they caused
there to be other victims in the process.

While every conflict may have more than one person to blame, after
examining the play throughly I felt that in The Crucible, Abigail was
the one I had to point my finger at. My reasons for taking this view
were because she contributed to the deaths of many innocent
individuals. I could not fathom why the need for love had led her to
be deceitful and a killer. Her uncle Rev. Parris was responsible for
her upbringing so I was shocked at her self-importance and
ill-mannered ways. The stage directions points out that Abigail was
"an orphan with an endless capacity for dissembling." This meant she
lied very much, which was not what was expected for a niece of a Rev.
On the contrary If I were to defend her I would say that the religious
beliefs and manners were too much for her to adopt. The last page
'Echoes Down The Corridor' states that "Abigail turned up later as a
prostitute." She couldn't endure the strictness of the Puritan
customs, thus this made her want to...

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