We have all seen villains. We have all seen heroes. Heroes and villains make up just about every story in the world. Arthur Miller’s, The Crucible,is no different. One of the main characters and antagonists in the play is Abigail Williams. Demonstrated in words and actions, Abigail is a villain who shows the ability to be dangerous and manipulative to achieve her selfish desires.
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In “Act One” of the play, Mr. Parris says to Abigail, “Then you were conjuring spirits last night.” At this moment, Abigail is receiving lots of negative attention because of what happened that night. Afraid of what will get out, she says, “Not I sir, – Tituba and Ruth.” Abigail does this, and attention is removed from herself and given to Tituba. Abigail only continues to throw the blame on others to avoid punishment and redirect attention knowing that other will get punished (Crucible 16).
Henceforth, Abigail removes the focus from herself; she listens to what they told Tituba. “I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!” Abigail realized that if she accused people of being a witch, she would not have to face the consequences. She then starts naming innocent people accusing them of being a witch even though she knew this would ruin their lives and reputations (Crucible 48).
As Abigail is being questioned: she freezes up and claims that Mary is using the dark arts against her. Mary screams at her, “stop it, Abby,” and Abigail mocks her, “stop it, Abby,”(Crucible 115-116). Abigail, in act one, threatens the girls, “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”(20). Abigail says this to make sure no one says anymore about what they are doing. Mary dared go against Abigail and ended up in a predicament which made her look like the villain.
Ultimately, some may feel that Abigail is not a villain but a victim. Those that are more sympathetic argued that Abigail is a victim because she experienced trauma and was lead on; It has also argued that Abigail was young and not emotionally secure yet. Because she was so young and had already experienced so many traumatic events, such as witnessing her family’s murder and the affair she had with John. There was the possibility that Abigail was mentally ill. Even with such good claims as to why Abigail acted the way she did, it does not justify her actions.
There are many characters in The Crucible, but Abigail, a persona that has a villainous role, stands out. Abigail distinguished as a villain by both her actions and words. Along with her ability to be dangerous and manipulative. Throughout the entire play, she continuously ruins and destroys the lives of the people around her. Abigail’s actions not only destroyed lives but the foundation of her town as well. Many that were in power at the time used this hysteria for personal gain, just as Abigail had done.