Abigail Williams Analysis Essay

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That behavior allowed the girl to escape charge and prosecution in the puritanism society of Salem and to continue amusing herself by engaging new participants in her play and further pointing out those “bewitched” to Salem community.

A series of witch rituals conducted by Abigail in favor of her entertainment resulted in the accusation and death of 200 Salem women (May 16).

It's unclear whether Abigail actually cares about Betty, or if she is just worried that if Betty doesn't wake up she’ll get in even bigger trouble. Miller uses explicit stage directions to Abigail like “” (Act 1, p.

11) when she's addressing Parris to illustrate the precarious position Abigail is in.

Besides, the overall character of Abigail represents the controversy between her appearance and actions.

As a brief background to the story, one need to know that English settlements in the colonized America of the 17th century experienced regular encounters with Indians, indigenous American people.While depicting the pre-conditions of witch trials, Miller tries to identify and explain motives of Abigail’s cruelty.Living in the male dominated puritanism community, the girl might have no other way to escape the public prosecution for performing her joyful rituals in the forest.In other words, Abigail’s actions may be interpreted as a struggle against the system, where women had to voice and right to self-expression.Another critical point of Miller concerns the love affair between Abigail and the married John Proctor.Apart from the historical perspective, the story addresses gender roles and the change in role models across times.The dynamics of girl group interactions, their struggle for male’s attention and complexity of sexual issues occupy a large portion of the analysis (Bovard 82).The then puritanism society did not accept divorce or other violations of the marriage agreement (Miller xi).As such, in her violent play, Abigail might target Elizabeth Proctor to eliminate the barrier to the happiness sought with John.Over the course of the first two acts, it is revealed that Abigail used to work for the Proctors but had an affair with John; she was kicked out when Elizabeth confronted John with her suspicions and he confessed.By the time the play begins, Abigail still loves John, but the feeling that does not appear to be mutual, as John won’t continue the affair with her.


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