The majority of people have enough common sense to make the split-second decision in favor of good over evil. However, the friction between good and evil is an immense conflict for those without proper reasoning. In The Crucible and “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” two characters, Abigail Williams and Arnold Friend, without thinking of the consequences behind their behavior, attempt to plan, execute and commit evil actions for the benefit of themselves. Due to their alarming behavior in the woods and at Connie’s house, both characters are seen as manipulators and in favor of pure acts of evil.
First, the imprudent behavior behind their actions was a main drive for their stories. In the Crucible, Abigail used lies and persuasion in order to hide her behavior from the rest of Salem. However, near the beginning of the play, Abigail reaches out to Tituba for her help with John. She wanted him for herself, so pleaded Tituba to make her a potion to kill Goody Proctor. When that doesn’t work, she begs John to take her back; when that doesn’t work she accuses Elizabeth of witchcraft. When all the girls were together, Abigail gave them a talk about if any of them told the truth. “Now look you. All of you. We danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam’s dead sisters…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;…and I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down! (She goes to Betty and roughly sits her up.) Now, you—sit up and stop this!” (I.113-132) In this part of the story Abigail is instructing the girls that they must do what she says and not spoil the truth to the court or she will rain evil down upon him. She speaks the truth of what occurred in the woods and uses a sense of witchcraft and deception to keep them in line and not get caught up in lies or pressure. Next, in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” the character Arnold Friend was a suspicious and manipulative individual, just like Abigail Williams. Anyway, Connie and her best friend went to the drive-in restaurant across the highway and sat at the counter, with the music playing and the grins on their faces, they knew this place was the go to spot for fun. However, moments later a boy named Eddie went up to Connie and offered her food and to come back to his car to hang out. Once they were outside though, that’s where the trouble started. At that moment she happened to glance at a face just some ways away from her. It was a boy with long black hair and he stared at her with his lips turning to a grin. He pointed his finger at her and said, ‘Gonna get you, baby,” (Oates, pg.) which resulted in Connie turning away instantly. This quote represents him attempting his plan to bring Connie into his “trap”. Out of this, and how he speaks with a melodic type tone, this shows him luring Connie to him. He learned she an immense love for music and knew speaking to her in this way would take away from his looks and how he acts.
Second, near the beginning of the play, Abigail carries out her plan for taking the blame off her shoulders. She turns the story from “we were just dancing” to “Tituba sent her spirit on me and bewitched us”, and the town of Salem completely buys it now. A moment in which shows the full explanation of this was when Abigail was in her court argument with Parris and he proceeded to ask, “Then you were conjuring spirits last night… ABIGAIL, whispering: Not I, sir – Tituba and Ruth.” (Act 1, p.15). She is now executing her plan in order to shift the blame and attention from her towards Tituba and Ruth so she can be “off the leash” with the blame. She eventually wants to be able to get rid of John Proctor’s wife and become his. Once she gets through the courts and attempts to be not guilty, she will be able to finally get what she wants. Furthermore, in the next story we see Arnold Friend arrive at Connie’s house in his gold car. One way in which Arnold Friend intimidates Connie into leaving the house is to make her believe that he has always been her fate. He speaks to her as if it was love at first sight, even though in reality, he was using his deception of his looks to give Connie that impression. “Inside your daddy’s house—is nothing … You know that and always did know it.” (Oates, pg.) He uses this quote as if he has the power over her and how him being in the house would give her that “life” that she wants. He wants to make her believe what is wrong, in order to get exactly what he wants. That’s why Connie said, “She spoke sullenly, careful to show no interest or pleasure.” (Oates, pg.) When he first arrived she wanted to make sure this was the same person she saw at the drive-in restaurant, she didn’t want to give off any vibes that would show her vulnerability or innocence.
Third, the final step to their plan, to complete it and get their final desires. For Abigail, she finally got John Proctor’s wife in trouble and was almost able to get Proctor to herself. However, Proctor goes to the court speaking the truth of the affair and Abigail’s plans, “A man may think God sleeps, but God sees everything, I know it now. I beg you, sir, I beg you – see her what she is…She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! And well she might, for I thought of her softly. God help me, I lusted and there is a promise in such sweat. But it is a whore’s vengeance.”(III.374-384) When Proctor tells the court of his affair and Abigail’s plot to kill Elizabeth, he gives the court another opportunity to end the trials. Yet, just as Danforth dismisses the claims against Putnam since Corey would not reveal his witness, Danforth dismisses Proctor’s claim that Abigail is a harlot, simply because Elizabeth lies to conceal the affair. Due to him doing this, Abigail eventually got Proctor arrested and many other people for her doing, keeping her “good” name out of the situation. Following this, Arnold Friend did something except pretty similar, except with more violence and aggression. Once Arnold made his way into her house, he was able to find and capture her, and unfortunately stab and supposedly rape her. Connie then regretted every decision she made of meeting this boy. “She cried out … for her mother … Arnold Friend was stabbing her … with no tenderness.” (Oates, pg.) Arnold Friend terrifies Connie. She realizes she be with him or control him since he is not like all the other boys she knows. In calling out for her mother, Connie reveals she is far less mature and sophisticated than she would like to think; in fact, she is still a child. As soon as she calls out for her mother, she realizes that is getting raped by Arnold Friend and this isn’t a dream, this is real life and is actually happening to her right now. Arnold Friend is shown as a devil and unlike Abigail, he goes through all the way with his plan and is successful. He chose the evil side over the good side of leaving her alone, and let his body take control over his heart and mind.
In the end, through the eyes of the characters, deception was their main motive behind their actions, they used it effectively to their advantage in order to get what they wanted in the stories. However, for the innocent characters in the stories, they were unable to make that split-second decision of good over evil. Abigail Williams Arnold Friend’s actions displayed that good over evil since they chose the darker and lying side of the events to give them that hope of gaining advantage and power over others.