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The Whore-ible Character of Abigail Williams: Critical Analysis of The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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The Whore-ible Character

Memories from the past can either be excellent or awful. In the younger days, recollections like, playing at parks and eating sugar come to mind. Memories that are unpleasant can have an effect on a person by changing their attitude, the way they act, and can even make a person do enough to the point they regret it. As for Abigail Williams, a character in The Crucible by Arthur Miller, remembering the past is something she wants to forget. Abigail Williams is a victim of a strict Puritan society and witnessing the violent death of her parents, hoping for a life with a man she falsely believes to be in love with her, as well living under the strict leadership of her uncle all contribute into making her a manipulative and angry person.

Abigail Williams witnesses the death of her parents and this leads to severe trauma. She sees Indians smash her parents’ heads on a pillow next to hers. One night when she is angry with her friends, she threatens them and describes that she has “seen some reddish work done at night” (Miller 19) and lets them know that she can make them wish that they “had never seen the sun go down.” (Miller 19). This kind of experience causes someone to act differently than normal. It also makes a person vengeful toward others. While Abigail is talking about her parents’ brutal death, she tries to scare her friends because she drank blood and didn’t want anyone to know about it. “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” (Miller 19) makes the girls sit and listen silently with fear.

Seeing her parents die right in front of her, makes Abigail become hardened and selfish. She will never recover from this horrible experience. What the Indians do to her parents right in front of her has an impact on her future and creates a lot of anguish in her life.

Abigail Williams hopes for a life with John Proctor and she falsely believes that John is in love with her. This false belief causes Abigail to desire to be with John Proctor and eliminate his wife.

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John obviously still has feelings for Abigail because he thinks of her “softly from time to time” (Miller 18) but he does not want to restart the affair. “I will cut off my hand before I’ll ever reach for you again.” (Miller 18) is a reminder to himself that he will not act on these feelings.

This will be challenging for him but he knows it is the right decision. It is difficult not to hold back on strong feelings. Even though John Proctor says that their relationship must end Abigail still wants to believe John is in love with her. “I look for John Proctor that took me from my sleep and put knowledge in my heart! I never knew what pretense Salem was, I never knew the lying lessons I was taught by all these Christian women and their covenanted men! And now you bid me tear the light out of my eyes? I will not, I cannot!” (Miller 22) is a profession of Abigail’s love for Proctor. She does not want to see the truth. Abigail does not want to see this relationship come to an end. Abigail hopes for a life with John Proctor but that is a false dream that Abigail has to accept.

Abigail Williams lives under the strict leadership of her uncle, Reverend Parris, which influences her because he is power-hungry and selfish. One day when Abigail is dancing in the forest with friends, her uncle catches her and he is upset. “Now look you, child, your punishments will come in its time. But if you trafficked with spirits in the forest I must know it now, for surely my enemies will, and they will ruin me with it.” (Miller 10) is all Abigail needs to hear to know that she is in trouble. Abigail has pressure on her to act a certain way so that Parris can maintain his status in society. Even though Parris sometimes seems proud of her, he tells Abigail about his enemies which indicate that he worries a lot about what people think of him. The girls are dancing in the forest because they are performing a superstitious ritual with a slave. As soon as Parris hears about this incident, he persistently and urgently keeps asking Abigail, “What did you do with her in the forest?” (Miller 9). Reverend Parris reminds Abigail that he “cannot go before the congregation” (Miller 9) when she is not telling him the details.

The feeling of worry and apprehension overcomes Parris making him not think about Abigail, but rather his own reputation. He is, selfishly, more concerned about his name than he is about the community or even his own daughter. Living with an egocentric uncle contributes to making Abigail who she is as a person.

The Crucible symbolically shows how Abigail Williams becomes a paranoid, manipulative, and vengeful person over time because of the John Proctor, Reverend Parris, and the trauma of witnessing her parents’ brutal death. This displays modern problems that still affect our society today, not only the spread of untruthful rumors but also the unfair treatment of others who are different. This writing shows how experiencing trauma as a child can have a major emotional impact on someone. It also shows how people often judge others, like Abigail Williams, when they do not completely understand the lifestyle they grew up with. The character Abigail Williams conveys a message illustrating the harmful effects of an oppressive community and how social status often gets in the way of helping those in need and building relationships.

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The Whore-ible Character of Abigail Williams: Critical Analysis of The Crucible by Arthur Miller. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 5, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-whore-ible-character-of-abigail-williams-critical-analysis-of-the-crucible-by-arthur-miller/
“The Whore-ible Character of Abigail Williams: Critical Analysis of The Crucible by Arthur Miller.” Edubirdie, 14 Jul. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-whore-ible-character-of-abigail-williams-critical-analysis-of-the-crucible-by-arthur-miller/
The Whore-ible Character of Abigail Williams: Critical Analysis of The Crucible by Arthur Miller. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-whore-ible-character-of-abigail-williams-critical-analysis-of-the-crucible-by-arthur-miller/> [Accessed 5 Feb. 2023].
The Whore-ible Character of Abigail Williams: Critical Analysis of The Crucible by Arthur Miller [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 14 [cited 2023 Feb 5]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-whore-ible-character-of-abigail-williams-critical-analysis-of-the-crucible-by-arthur-miller/
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