Contrast Between Abigail Williams And Elizabeth Proctor

3512 words - 14 pages

Contrast Between Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Proctor

Create an outright contrast between the two protagonists – Abigail
Williams and Elizabeth Proctor. Examine how he has established this
dichotomy of character, and what does it add to the dramatic quality
and audience involvement in the play.

The “Crucible” By Arthur Miller

Miller attempts to create an outright contrast between the two
protagonists – Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Proctor.

Examine how he has established this dichotomy of character, and what
does it add to the dramatic quality and audience involvement in the
play.

On the face of the play (“The Crucible”) it seems to be simply about the mass hysteria which led to the 1692 Salem Witchcraft trials, which talks about a handful of issues which are somewhat remote to a modern audience, who in turn find it relatively intricate to relate to such happenings. But as you study the play in more detail you realise that Miller not only stresses issues which were easy to relate to in the time in which it was set, but has also given the play a modern touch by stressing the rivalry between Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Proctor. Consequently Miller adds to the dramatic feel of the play by adding a series of modern touches and historic statements which makes the play not only relate to the happenings of witchcraft but also explore the crime of adultery, which makes the play more about the personal guilt of John Proctor. The play furthermore creates the “Crucible” in such a way as to illustrate how people react to mass hysteria, created by a person or group of people desiring fame (in this case Abigail because she is the main leader of all the happenings that go on in the performance), as people did during the McCarthy hearings.

The dramatist deliberately makes the two main female characters
Abigail and Elizabeth two totally opposite women, highlighting the
differences between the women during the whole play. Additionally he
puts John Proctor in the middle of these two dominating characters to
add to the drama and tension of the play. Miller always keeps
questions going throughout the dramatic piece about John, Abigail and
Elizabeth which include: which woman will John choose and go with?
Will he stay faithful to his wife and children? Will he be tempted
and lured into Abigail’s trap? Does he desire a young attractive girl
or a plain mature woman?

Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Proctor are two totally diverse
characters. Abigail is strong, dominant, passionate and lives in a
world of fantasy and lies. On the other hand Elizabeth is shy,
hesitant, non-emotional and lives a life full of honesty not deceit
like Abigail. It is ironic that the one lie Elizabeth ever tells in
her life is the lie that condemns her husband John Proctor.

Initially it is very easy to see Abigail’s malicious side that acts in
plenty of repulsive ways, such as cause deaths through accusations,
but as the play...

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