The Crucible by Arthur Miller Critical Analysis Essay
From a literary perspective, the narrative and the actors are easily comprehensible. Located in Salem, in the state of Massachusetts, the plan moves at a hurried pace and the viewers quickly understand that the central character, “John Proctor,” is objectified by Abigail Williams, a young woman full of desire. Abigail entertains nothing short of recapturing the heart of the married man (Morgan et al. 67), and she will stop at nothing, even if it means being critical of other women and accusing them of practicing witchcraft. She additionally ignites the dangerous flames of hysteria, a fear that will deliver in the end many individuals into the gallows.
On the other hand, the protagonist “John Proctor” is heavily burdened by a gloomy weight in his soul. A highly valued farmer and greatly respected husband, he has acted in an unfaithful manner, committing adultery with a very young girl (Abigail). Nonetheless, even though he never discloses this fact to anyone within the community, he still believes in speaking the truth. John understands that the accusations of witchcraft are rancorous and bitter deceptions. The farmer struggles all through the play. According to Simmons and Molyneux (1194), Proctor finds himself in the biggest quagmire of whether he should throw accusations towards his previous lover of not telling the truth or just ignore and live with the guilt for the rest of his life.
The divergence becomes more intense towards the end of the narrative. John is offered an opportunity to salvage his life, however, for him to do that; he is required to come clean and admit that he had adored the evil one. John is put in the most precarious situation, where he has to make the correct choice, an ultimate choice that would determine the direction his life would take. Perhaps the juiciest character of the narrative, even though she is not offered with much stage time, is that portrayed by Abigail.
Abigail’s role is interpretable through numerous dimensions. Various scholars have analyzed Abigail Williams as a childish little monster while others have depicted her as a menacing slut. Numerous fundamental questions are raised regarding her role in the narrative: was her purity taken away (Banfield 123)? Is Abigail a sociopath or a victim? Despite her depictions in the narrative, does Abigail love the farmer in a twisted way? Alternatively, has the little girl used the farmer all along?
The Character of Abigail Williams
Abigail Williams is revengeful, egotistical, manipulative and a brilliant impostor. The young Abigail is portrayed to be especially talented at spreading destruction and death everywhere she trails. Part of her behavior is attributed to her early childhood experiences when she claims to have witnessed the brutal killing of her parents, “I saw Indians smash my dear parents heads (Miller 20). Abigail is especially gifted and has a strange ability of manipulation, an ability that she exercises on other individuals with ease, ultimately gaining control over them. The different elements highlighted above render her an amazing antagonist.
In the first act, Abigail’s manipulative skills are demonstrated fully. At that time when she is on the verge of being caught for indulging in witchcraft, she expertly manages to blame the whole issue on members of the Salem’s second-tier community. The unfortunate thing is that she is responsible for persuading Tituba to execute the spells. From the time when she had a short sexual relationship with the farmer, she has been committed to getting Elizabeth, the farmers wife. Even though the farmer made it clear that he did not wish to extend the relationship any longer by claiming, “I will cut off my hand before I ever reach for you again” (Miller 23), she desperately attempts to revamp their relationship. The sneaky antagonist persuaded Tituba to plant a curse on the farmers wife, in anticipation of getting rid of her and assume her position at the farmers side.
Ironically, Abigail, who invested many of her energies in influencing the with cast her spells initially, is the same person, who moves around blaming everyone else. Taking her position as the leader of the pack, she motivates the other young girls to be emotionally charged, which drives them to lay blame as witches the people they love and know (Savran 57). Abigail riles up the whole villages abhorrence of witches. Her fundamental skill is seen to discovering other individuals faults, their weak spots, their narrow-mindedness and hardheartedly manipulating them for her benefit.
In the second act, Abigail’s callous craftiness is seen once more when through her guile, she alleges that Elizabeth, Johns wife is involved in witchcraft. Subsequent to that act, in Act 3, she is seen to drop her final shred of compassion and humanity by unflattering the farmer, John Proctor, a person she claims to feel affection for. In the final stages, when Proctor tries to expose her, she expertly manages to reverse the whole issue, turning the whole thing against John. The young Abigail exercises her power all through to the end, ultimately leaving town with every penny belonging to her uncle.
Banfield, Chris. A Review Of The Crucible ‐ A Screenplay, By Arthur Miller. Contemporary Theatre Review 7.4 (1998): 123-124. Web.
Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. New York: Viking Press, 1953. Print.
Morgan, Marie et al. The Crucible. The New England Quarterly 70.1 (1997): 125. Web.
Popkin, H. (1964). Arthur Millers “The Crucible”. College English, 26(2), 139. doi:10.2307/373665
Savran, David. The Wooster Group, Arthur Miller And “The Crucible”. The Drama Review: TDR 29.2 (1985): 99. Web.