In the play Crucible Abigail Williams is the main antagonist character. Abigail used to work as a maid for Elizabeth, but she was later fired for having involved herself in love affairs with John Proctor. She was a Paris, niece with a high status which she took advantage to gain power and manipulate other poor Saleems citizens. She had become the most influential person in Saleem, but later she flew away due to fear of the consequences of her evil deeds. The character of Abigail reveals the theme of abuse of power, manipulation, and lust which flows across the entire play. Instead of being a good role model and leader based on her status, she takes advantage of others and manipulates them. The modern society and leadership reveal the same actions.
The action of lust is revealed whereby Abigail takes advantage of her knowledge in witchcraft to serve her interest. She uses the power to bounce attention from her sinful actions and also accuse Elizabeth of scheming her away from Proctor's arms. Her possession towards John Proctor leads her into casting a spell to Elizabeth as a way of getting rid of her. You did, you did! You drank a charm to kill John Proctor's wife! You drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor! (Klein 12). The community trusted her at first, but her lust and self-interest led to her downfall. The knowledge of witchcraft should have been used to sway away the evil in the society rather than using it to destroy the innocent.
Abigail also accuses Tituba of witchcraft, yet she is the one who persuaded him to go out and cast a spell. She sets the foundation for twisting justice in Salem whereby the good and innocent people are falsely accused and convicted. She does all this in an attempt to escape punishment for casting spells and adultery. She also pins the same on several other Salems citizens. She established "credibility" with the court to win most cases. The honesty and knowledgeable people like Abigail are supposed to lead others in Saleem. Instead, they act like the use the power for their benefit. Those who ought to be the light to the society are indeed the doom and the troublemakers. The paradigm of Saleem society promotes unjust outcome form evil leaders similarly to what happens in todays society.
In Act 3, Abigail losses her last shred of kindness by manipulating and condemning Proctor. She uses her power to turn the whole thing around John hence pocking him off to the slammer when he tries to expose her evil deeds. She was powerful and Saleem citizens trusted her which gave her an opportunity to get rid of anyone who acted as an obstacle (Klein, 34). After messing up with people around and causing suffering of innocent souls and families, she fled to another city with all her uncles money. Similarly, in our society most leaders' take advantage of the people and situation and later leave them after causing total damage.
Abigail uses her power and authority as witchcraft to instill fear in other people especially the young girls. She uses her status and recognition to threaten citizens who fail to head to her commands. At one point she is seen threatening young girls with violence when they rejected her plans. She accuses them of witchcraft if they fail to be loyal just like the case of Mary Warren (Gale, 23.
Cold-calculation, manipulation and eliminations are strategies used by most leaders in the bid to fulfill their desires. In the play, Abigail accuses innocent people in the court of Saleem like the town drunk and vagrant to increase her credibility. She also condemns innocent people to die and later turn against John to strengthen her actions and buy her stay in Saleem (Gale, 23).
The theme of abuse of power and manipulation is shown through Abigail in the play "crucible." She uses her knowledge about witchcraft for her selfish desire by accusing others falsely, convicting them and also leading to the death of innocent souls. Her thirst for power reflects the modern society whereby most leaders are driven by selfish desire. People are ready to sacrifice everything in an attempt to gain control and recognition in the community. The same leaders who need to be role models and protector of citizen's rights are the same people who use the position to kill the society dreams.
Gale, Cengage Learning. A Study Guide for Arthur Miller's The Crucible. Gale, Cengage Learning, 2015
Klein, Ramon. Characterization of Morality and Values in Arthur Miller's Play" The Crucible": John Proctor's Search for Identity and His' Self'. GRIN Verlag, 2014.
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