In Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible” Abigail Williams plays a big part in the Salem witch trials. Although this is so, there were many other factors and people who contributed to the Salem witch trials and the subsequent tragic deaths of those accused. Factors such as the community, the court, and other factors related to personal vendettas and situations played an equally big part in the horrible events of the Salem witch trials. The play “Crucible” was written in the 1950s, although set in late 1600s in Salem village Massachusetts.
The play is based on real life events, through the use of legal records some of the facts have been changed but most of them are similar to the actual events. Abigail Williams a 17 year old orphan seems to be the centre of the events that took place in 1692 in the small town of Salem. In the play she has a lot of influence on the events. At the beginning of the play we find Betty Parris in bed unconscious and later realise the cause. Abigail Williams and her friends Mercy Lewis, Ruth Putnam, the slave girl Tituba and Abigail’s cousin Betty had been dancing in the woods.
Mary Warren another friend of Abigail’s was watching the others, where Abigail drank a blood charm to kill Elizabeth Proctor, who we meet later. “You drank blood Abby” “You drank a charm to kill John Proctor’s wife! You drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor! ” Unfortunately for them Reverend Samuel Parris had seen them doing this. The state of Betty and Ruth both unconscious is what started the suspicion of witch craft. “Uncle, the rumour of witch craft is all about………… ” This made Abigail and the others very scared because the punishment for witchcraft was hanging.
“Witchery’s a hangin’ error…. ” So they decided to lie or should we say Abigail decided they should lie. Abigail appears to be the leader of the group as she is the one who prompts the others to do and say things. She is a bully and a liar. “Now look you. All of you. We danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam’s dead sisters. And that is all. And mark this. Let either of you breathe a word, or 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.
” When Reverend John Hale arrives, he becomes suspicious of Betty’s behaviour and asks Abigail if she or Betty had drank any of the “Soup” in the kettle which they were brewing while they danced in the woods. Abigail is quick to say no to this accusation but rather blames it on Tituba. She had blamed Tituba for calling the devil “I never called him! Tituba, Tituba….. ” and she say’s that a frog had jumped in to the soup and that “Did Tituba ask you to drink it? She tried but I refused.
” But when Hale asked her this question “Have you sold yourself to Lucifer? ” she realises that this could easily turn on her that she will be accused of practicing witchcraft. When Tituba comes in Abigail is quick to accuse her so that the suspicions are turned. “She made me do it! She made Betty do it! ” “She makes me drink blood! ” When Tituba tries to explain “You beg me to conjure! She beg me make charm-“Abigail swiftly cuts her off “Don’t lie! She comes to me while I sleep; she’s always making me dream corruptions!
” This shows how scared Abigail was of being found out, as she surely knew that she would hang for her doings. To save herself, she blames Tituba and when Tituba is questioned she is forced to name people who are working for the devil. She names two people from the village and then Abigail comes in with more names pretending that she had been afflicted too and then Betty starts accusing people of witch too. It was confirmed that the devil had attacked Salem and that anyone could be a witch.
As we can see all this started due to Abigail’s actions and manipulations and that it were no more than Abigail’s games to protect herself. Abigail’s input into the witch trials which started after this confirmation is tremendous she was there in the court with her friends and companions who accused anyone they wished due to their personal vendettas. One of the accusations that Abigail Williams made was of Good Elizabeth Proctor being a witch. She gives a great performance and takes full advantage of certain actions and facts.