Abigail Williams Reputation

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In a theocracy such as 17th century Salem, Massachusetts, one’s reputation is central to one’s position and survival; public and private moralities are inseparable. In an environment where reputation plays such an important role, the fear of guilt by association is exacerbated and people dread anyone or anything that could damage their reputation. Focused on maintaining a respectable public persona, the townsfolk of Salem grow increasingly anxious that the sins of their friends and associates will taint their names. Various characters in Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, base their actions on the desire to protect their respective reputations. As the play begins, Parris fears that Abigail’s increasingly questionable actions, and the hints …show more content…
She uses this to uphold her reputation of the idealistic young woman in Puritan society. Miller portrays Abigail as a mysterious girl who instituted the trials as a way of releasing her vengeance on Elizabeth Procter, the wife of the man who committed adultery with Abigail. Abigail served as the Procter’s servant until a major altercation between Elizabeth and Abigail over the affair ensued. In Act I, Parris interrogates Abigail with concerns to her involvement with spells, Tituba’s charm, and the supposed witchcraft in which she participated in. After Reverend Parris questions Abigail of why she was discharged from the Procter’s service, Abigail responds, “My name is good in the village! I will not have it said my name is spoiled. Goody Proctor is a gossiping liar!” (12) To avoid altercation with her uncle and possible ties to her involvement in Betty Parris’ witching, Abigail clearly places the blame on Goody Proctor by negatively labelling her. This foreshadows the upcoming motivation for Abigail, clearly defined in Act II, which is to take Elizabeth’s place as John’s wife. In preparation for Elizabeth’s downfall, Abigail convinces all of the girls to falsely accuse other people in the village that show outlying characteristics of witchcraft. This allows Abigail to trick Mary Warren into presenting Elizabeth with a ‘seemingly innocent’ poppet, but instead lands Elizabeth in jail. Abigail’s ability to take the minds of the whole village just to take the guilt of adultery off of herself shows Abigail’s cunning, insightful, and powerful nature. Miller includes Abigail as a primary character in The Crucible to show the power of guilt and the value of upholding a positive image in the small Puritan town of

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