Abigail is a major character in Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’. She has many different qualities in her personality and this is what influences her actions From the beginning of the play there is a slight sense of uneasiness surrounding Abigails’ character. In all the scenes her presence is felt even if she is not there and it is difficult to tell whether she is lying or not.
As a reader of the play it is easier to depict if she is lying because we are told that she has: “an endless capacity for dissembling” but even as an audience member there is something unsettling about her, for example the character changes she shows between scenes and depending on who she is talking to. Abigail’s illicit affair with John Proctor does not evoke any sympathy for her because she has no consideration for how he feels when Elizabeth was named a witch and proves that she can trample on other peoples feelings.
This is also proved in her control of the other girls: “look all of you, we danced” and her threats of violence towards them; “I have seen reddish things done at night, and I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down. ” Abigail can ruthlessly blame other people for her own actions. For example Tituba; Abigail blamed her claiming Tituba made her drink blood: “She made me do it, she made me drink blood.
” Tituba, denies making Abigail drink blood, but, having no rights as a slave is not believed and Abigail, seeing Tituba naming other people as witches is protecting her, summons the other girls to join in and because of Abigail’s control over them she succeeds. This proves that she is also very quick- witted. Abigail is a very daring character. When John Proctor produces evidence, in court, that the girls are lying she has the audacity to challenge Danforth: “Let you beware Mr Danforth. Think you be so mighty that the power of hell may not turn your wits?
” This leads you to believe that she is aware that she is accusing innocent people. Abigail seems not to have any sort of remorse for what she has done. At some points in the play you are led to believe that she herself actually believes what she is saying. In the missing scene she talks about George Jacobs in prison, who she claims hit her with his stick; “Thank God he is and bless the day he hangs and lets me sleep in peace again. ” There comes a stage though when she begins to realize that not many people in the town of Salem believe her accusations.
People are in court due to Abigail’s’ accusations and the longer the trails go on the harder it becomes for Abigail, and the rest of the girls to admit that they were lying. Therefore she leaves with Parris’ life savings without consideration for how Parris would feel. Stopping only (In the screenplay) to try and save John from being hanged, unsuccessfully. Some time after the trials it emerges that Abigail carved herself a career as a prostitute. This is surprising because of the way Abigail was portrayed to the audience.
The impression was given to believe that while she had no thought for others she respected herself more than that and was therefore unlikely to behave in such a manner. This would not evoke any sympathy towards Abigail because after all the evil things she has done to innocent people she deserves to have to resort to such desperate measures of earning money. There are some points, however that would lead you to have sympathy for Abigail. Her childhood was very bleak. She saw her parents being killed: “I saw Indians smash my dear parents heads on the pillow next to mine.
” This might help explain where her violence towards Betty and the other girls came from. Abigail has a cool relationship with Parris. Parris does not show a lot of interest in Abigail and he thinks only of his own reputation. At the beginning of the play he is certain he saw someone dancing “naked in the forest”. Abigail denies this: “No one was naked” but Parris does not believe her, to the extent that he tells Reverend Hale of Beverly what he thought he saw. Later in the play he denies ever having had the conversation with reverend Hale about this.
Due to Betty pretending she was unconscious he was angry with Abigail but showed no sign that if Betty woke up he would be anything but relieved. Even Tituba seems more interested in Betty than Abigail, which is perhaps why Abigail named Tituba as a way of revenge and a way of getting attention. Perhaps Abigail behaved like this because she felt unloved by everyone around her. Abigail lives in a very strict society where she is not allowed to read or dance: “You permit dancing?
” ” No, it was secret”. As she is a very imaginative, lively young lady this would have been very restrictive to her and the other girls, who were following Abigail’s lead as none of them had had the mental strength to do the same thing. Perhaps this is why the girls were dancing in the forest. To some extent John Proctor has to be blamed because he is older and wiser than Abigail and must have led her, somewhat, to believe that he truly loved her and that something was going to become of his love.
It can be seen that she still loves him by the way she downplays Betty’s illness: “We were dancin’ in the woods last night, and my uncle leaped in on us she took fright is all. ” Miller himself could not decide what kind of character Abigail was. ‘The missing scene’ proves this, which he wrote but did not include. In this scene she seems to be convinced of her ‘ godly work’ and this is why she truly believes that John Proctor loves her and this ‘love’ is seen again in Miller’s screenplay. In conclusion the good in her personality appears to outweigh the bad.
Her behaviour towards members of her community is at times inexcusable but it is also partially understandable. Whilst she has been evil enough to have people killed, there are many reasons, which help to explain these actions and therefore cause the audience to understand why she behaves as she does. GCSE Coursework Vanessa Matson IV 45 Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Arthur Miller section.