As early as Scene one, we learn of the motives behind Abigail’s actions as she tries to get the girls to agree on a story to protect herself. She uses the threat of violence and their belief that she might know some real witchcraft, to keep them in line, “Let either of you breath 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... i can make you wish you had never seen the sun come
Gillian MacDonald 21 March 2013 ENG 4U Mr. Chalmers The Ringleaders of the Salem Witch Trials In the book The Crucible by Arthur Miller, the theme of hysteria is dominantly present throughout the entire play. It is not hard to narrow down the cause of the widespread hysteria to three people that inevitably had their hand in the trials. The devious character, Abigail, shows her wicked mind and skill of manipulation in the play so she can get what she wants, John Proctor. The slave, Tituba, gave into the accusations and started the hysteria of the witch trials. The last character that contributed to an entire town’s belief in witches would be Danforth.
Reverend Parris found some girls, including Abigail, dancing in the woods. They were doing the acts of witchcraft. Parris caught Abigail and accused her of witchcraft. Abigail denied it and she then accused Tituba, the ‘leader’ of the girls out in the woods (p 1108-1111). Arthur Miller shows how being put on the spot can scare people and make them accuse others.
Hysteria in Salem In 1692, in Salem Massachusetts, the superstition of witches existed in a society of strong Christian beliefs. Anybody who acted out of the ordinary was accused of being a witch and the accused would actually be forgiven if they blamed their accusations on another individual. In this play, a group of young girls is accused of being witches. These girls then blame other people in order to get out of trouble and even pretend to be "bewitched" in front of the court during a trial. This leads into the deaths of the innocent people who are accused and automatically found guilty.
The accused had two options; either they “admit” to being a witch/communist and name others, or maintain their innocence and be hanged/blacklisted. It was all delusional. Miller was motivated to write ‘The Crucible’ while seeing McCarthyism take place. Miller used several different techniques to create tension in the first Act of ‘The Crucible’ as to capture the audience’s attention. For example in the first scene of ‘The Crucible’ where Parris is trying to get to the bottom of what Abigail, Betty and the other girls did in the forest.
Through this, it is seen that Abigail is trying to gain power over the girls by making them scarred that they will be hurt if they do not abide in her words. By making the girls fear Abigail and her threats, Abigail is slowly gaining control and power. Next, when Mary Warren is confronted by John Proctor to tell the court that Abigail is lying, she says she cannot because of fear of what Abigail may to do her. Under the grips of Proctor, Mary cries “She’ll kill me for sayin’ that!” (102) and “I cannot, they’ll turn on me!” (102). Abigail is now able assert control through Mary’s reluctance to reveal Abigail to the court.
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…”(20). Abigail fears that the village will accuse her of being a witch if they find out why she truly danced in the forest the night before. She strikes fear into the girls to keep any chance of knowledge of her murder attempt from spreading. Abigail’s use of offensive persuasion affects the girls to lie, blame, and do anything to keep Abigail from getting caught. She lays her first accusation on Tituba.
Evil manifests throughout the play by many Puritans. Reverend Parris is deceitful and lies to everyone, including the court. He finds out that his seventeen year old niece, Abigail Williams, dances in the woods and keeps it a secret. By this, he protects his reputation and blames Tituba, an African American
At times, when he says to the governess, “Give that little witch a beating,” (21), he is advocating for a stranger to abuse his child. Despite the governess effort to protect and influence her into becoming a normal child, Irma, instead choose to find solace in witchcraft; a result of the constant berating from her father. “He wants me to be a witch, then I will be a witch,” she declares to the governess and
In the play many characters do not take responsibility for what they do see going on. As a result many lives are taken. For example, John Proctor realizes how dangerous the witchcraft accusations are when the court officials arrest his wife, Elizabeth, for witchcraft: "The little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law! I ll not give my wife to vengeance!” (Miller 34). Before his wife was arrested, John really did not see that the girls weren't just telling little “white lies”.