In this essay, I will be exploring Abigail Williams’ role in the play, showing how she makes the majority of other characters believe her lies and also stating whether in my view, it is possible to have sympathy for her character. First of all, I think that Abigail is a very manipulative character and this is shown in almost every passage of Arthur Millers writing. He describes her as a very innocent girl who is known by everyone. John Proctor cheated on his wife with Abigail and now she wants him all to herself. John Proctor is certain that he wants to stay with his wife, Elizabeth Proctor.Order now
Abigail is expressed as a character that can get anything she wishes. The way in which she does this is by acting the sweet innocent child that has no knowledge of the world or happenings, when really she is a conniving little ‘cow’. In the play, One passage that Abigail Uses is, “Now look you. All of you. We danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam’s dead sisters. And that’s all. And mark this. 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: I saw Indians smash my dear parents’ heads on the pillow next to mine, and I have seen some reddish work done at night, and I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down! Now you-sit up and stop this! ” This is a very frightening and aggressive piece of writing. This shows that Abigail can be a very scary character, even at the tender age of 17, or around about. The exploration of Abigail Williams’ role in the play is to be the ‘baddy’, and create havoc. If Abigail didn’t appear exactly as she does, in my personal view, the story would be horrendous.
This is because almost all of the drama and tension is created in resolution to her actions, whether directly or indirectly. Abigail’s role is to erupt when anything is regaining ‘normalness’ or anything looks like it will go back to the way it was. Abigail is the spark of a Volcano, because when she says that all of the wives of the men in the town of Salem are witches and she had seen them with the devil when she was brought to it, it causes the whole city to ‘erupt’ like an exploding, destructive volcano. Abigail says, “I look for John Proctor that took me from my sleep and put knowledge in my heart!
I never knew what pretence Salem was, I never knew the flying 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! You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet! John, pity me, pity me! ” She says this in response to John Proctor, who slept with her, only to turn her down and exclaim to her that he does not love her anymore. This is one of the points in the play when it shows that Abigail may have had a reason for what she did.
John Proctor knocking her back, gives her a fire in her eyes and heart, to damage and hurt Proctor and his wife. Abigail’s phrase, “put knowledge in my heart! ” means that she was a virgin before her and John had intercourse. This gives Abigail the reason throughout the story to be so mean and cruel. In a way, it is kind of like Miss Havisham in, Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens. This is because they have both been knocked back by men, their partners or such, and they go on to hate men and be evil people. Abigail says to reverend Hale on him asking her if she had sold her soul to the devil, “I never sold myself!
I’m a good girl! I’m a proper girl! ” This is her basically saying that she thinks what he is saying to them is absolute rubbish. When the girls start exclaiming names, that they have ‘seen with the devil’, betty suddenly rises, which makes all of the people in the court think that it is a miracle of God, that the silent child wakes. In this play I think that there is a possibility to feel ‘sorry’ for Abigail Williams, up until the point when people start to be hanged. I think that you could appreciate that Abigail has her own feelings and that the first man she has slept with is refusing to commit to her.
You can be slightly sympathetic to her because she has been emotionally damaged by the point of Proctor having a sexual relationship with her. It is fine to say that she has been damaged by this experience, but you cannot expect anyone, however religious or forgiving, to forget about people that they love being hanged over crimes that they haven’t committed. Overall, I believe that up to a certain point in the play, you can sympathise with Abigail, but when she takes it to another level, you can’t help but imagine the horror and utter stupidness of Abigail and her pathetic friends.