crucible essay


In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, there is one character who, because of her
selfish and evil ways, causes the destruction of many people in the town of
Salem. This character is Abigail Williams. In the play, jealousy, and self-
interest are the two characteristics that are seen constantly throughout the
play. These characteristics pertain particularly to Abigail, and give a graphic
description of her life, and how she deals with things in it. Throughout the
play she gets worse and worse each time something major happens.
After her affair and failure with voodoo, she was overcome by love
and jealousy, and she was willing to do anything to get John back to her own
self. Since she was overcome, she had no concern with morals, and starts to
sin heavily by starting the witch trials, which causes the deaths of many
people in the town. Abigail doesn’t want anyone to find out that she was in
the forest so she harshly threatens Betty Paris and Mary Warren not to say
anything. “Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the
other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I
will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you... And you know I can do
it... I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down.”
She fell in love with John Proctor after their affair, her morals and her
whole life began to fall apart. She started to be overcome with her feelings of
love, and her passion for John was enormous. After she was denied these
things she could no longer control herself, and her whole reason for living
became to get back John. This shows that when a person is given something,
which they enjoy, and even love, and they are denied it, they feel distraught
and they will many times do almost anything to get it back.
She was very desperate and she felt willing to do anything to get back
John for herself. She had been brought up to believe that magic worked, so
she turned to Tituba and her voodoo. Abigail begged her for her help in that
matter, This is shown when Tituba says, “You beg me to conjure! She beg
me to make charm-” Abigail was so desperate to get back John that she even
drank chicken’s blood to get him back. She drank this blood charm so
Elizabeth would die. Abigail’s progression of evilness and her looking for
help from witchcraft shows that love and jealousy in large quantities can
cause a person to go to what they hate most for help. Abigail goes from her
goodness with internal turmoil, to what she was brought up in Salem to fear,
and despise: witchcraft.
After some thought Abigail realizes that she can use witchcraft to get
back John, though not in the way that she had thought before. She believes
that the only reason that John is not giving in to her is because of Elizabeth.
She realizes that the people of the town are so afraid of the devil, she can use
that fear to discredit, and eventually get rid of Elizabeth, thereby getting
John for herself. She also realizes that if she right away accuses Elizabeth,
the people would not believe her because Elizabeth is too pious. She decides
that if she starts with evil people, and works her way up to the more pious
ones to, finally, Elizabeth she will be believed. This chain of reasoning
causes the deaths of many of the townspeople in Salem. Many people in the
town of Salem think Abigail’s doing the right thing by accusing all these
people. They don’t know of Abigail’s scheme and encourages that these
witches be given their due punishment. Reverend Hale has a conflict with
Abigail’s doings but not for the same reason as John Proctor. Hale knows
that Abigail is purging and he really tries to prevent innocent lives being
wasted. John wants to stop Abigail so he can save his wife. Hale wants to
save innocent lives from being unreasonably killed. Hale is a great man who
tries to save lives but John was the opposite and is selfish by just caring
about his wife’s life. At the end of the play, however, John realizes his
selfishness and dies while saving his honesty.
Abigail’s actions show that once a person begins to do evil things, and
sins, it becomes almost second nature, and they don’t really mind it so
much.