Aidan RaymondMrs. GobelAmerican Studies16 September 2019The Mob Boss of the Salem Witch Trials Serving as the leader of the girls responsible for the events leading to the witch hunt in Salem, Abigail Williams in The Crucible is the cause of much unfounded madness and deaths. Abigail, pursuing her own goal of stealing John Proctor from Elizabeth Proctor, saw no obstacle in her path as worth saving. She condemned many, including Elizabeth Proctor, and instilled fear among the townsfolk. Abigail serves as the embodiment of evil in The Crucible during her mission to steal Elizabeth from John Proctor by showing the dangers of misinformation and selfish desire, catalyzing the events of the Salem Witch Trial. During the Salem Witch Trials, it was Abigail who first introduced the idea of using accusations as a projection of hatred, desire, and as revenge opportunities. After the girls danced in the forest, Abigail initially denied the absurd accusations of witchcraft but upon learning there was no other solution to her problem, she began the trend among the townsfolk of using witchcraft accusations to save herslef and project her opinions onto other people. Witchcraft, being an invisible crime, could only be proven by a victim’s own testimony; any simple conflict of interest between two people could result in an accusation of witchcraft. Abigail, herself, accuses Elizabeth Proctor of witchcraft with the intent “to dance with [John Proctor] on [his] wife’s grave” (Miller 102). Although these ideas were not limited to the minds of Abigail, she was the origin of these ideas. As corruption often can, the accusatory mindset of Abigail unto Elizabeth, appeared suitable to many other townsfolk such as Anne Putnam who blamed the witchcraft of Rebecca Nurse (Miller 26) and Sarah Osburn (Miller 44) for the death of her children. In this way, Abigail served as the seed of evil that sprouted and stemmed into the other inhabitants of Salem. When Abigail became the symbolic leader of this witch hunt, she had no righteous or justifiable motive. She only wished to further her own self interest; however, by doing this, she ignored the wellbeing of other townspeople and ultimately left herself without any benefits as well. Abigail’s primary motive was to rid John Proctor of his wife, Elizabeth, so she and John could be with each other. Unfortunately for Abigail, it was her scandalous witchcraft accusations that made this goal unachievable. Mary Warren, afraid of Abigail’s power in the witch hunt, accused John Proctor of witchcraft after he bid her confess to Abigail’s lies (Miller 110). Even after Abigail condemned numerous innocent people, drove others away from her, and caused general chaos in Salem, she was unable to prevent her own selfish thoughts from scaring Mary into unintentionally ruining Abigail’s plan. Selfish schemes may seem like a simpler solution to a problem, but they also backfire much more often. When the events that would lead to the Salem Witch Trials began, the girls’ intents were not originally to condemn supposed witches. Through Abigail and the other girls own reckless behaviors and failures to comprehend the consequences of their actions, they caused hysteria in the town, blowing their poor decisions out of proportion. According to Abigail, dancing in the forest began as nothing but simple “sport” (Miller 10), and it was not until Abigail’s own position was threatened that she took a more aggressive standpoint. Her own failure to consider the consequences of her actions led to the death of 20 innocent people and the lives of many more ruined. Despite the chaos her absentmindedness had caused, Abigail seemingly showed no remorse as she eventually fled from Salem instead of confronting her wrongdoings (Miller 116). By fleeing, Abigail left the problems she had created with the rest of the town instead of taking responsibility. True to her character, she solved the problem caused by her selfish desire with a selfish solution. Although the misinformation of society in Salem contributed to the Witch Trials, the selfish desire and manipulative mind of Abigail further catalyzed them as she acted as the embodiment of evil in The Crucible. If a society is not rational and well educated, absurd reasonings can be assigned to unrelated activities. In avoiding another event like the Salem Witch Trials, a court of law must be reasonable, unbiased, and driven by proof. Selfish desires are inevitable, but acting upon those as Abigail did can lead to further consequences and despair. Vengeance and deceit in the face of societal troubles do not solve problems, but heighten them. Works citedMiller, Arthur. The Crucible. New York: Penguin Groups, 2003. Print.
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