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Short Essay on The Crucible

rollagasper 5 / 4  
Feb 22, 2007   #1
Hello! I wrote this essay based on following topic description:

A critic has remarked on teh following lack of nemisis or just punishment of the villain of hte play - Abilaril Williams: "and in that patter there is a gap. Abagail the Iago of the pice, runs away. Miller merely drops her when he has no further need of her. Not a Shakespearan tactic." Is the audience left unsatisfied by the lack of justice or do they forgive Abigail and are they glad that she has gone?

Is my essay ok is it too much beating around the bush? I did not exactly come to a solid conclusion, but I tried to explore her role in the play.

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Abigail Williams: An Unconventional Role as a Villain

In Arthur Miller's The Crucible, the whirlwind events of the Salem witch trials stem from the community's bottled up bitterness over political, financial, and personal issues. This devil-worship scandal is quickly seized by Abigail Williams as an opportunity to seek power and revenge. Abigail is a small-minded girl overflowed with resentment. She is an unmarried woman and also an orphan. Abigail must take the humble position of a servant, but her pride causes her to resent her low position on the social ladder. Abigail is hit with more bitter wind when John Proctor refuses to reciprocate her love. As an orphan, the young Abigail seems to have been deprived of nurturing love and becomes deeply attached to John Proctor, the only man who has given her passion and whom she claims "put knowledge in her heart." Abigail's desperation to cling onto Proctor's no longer existent love drives her to take advantage of the havoc in Salem to achieve her desires.

Abigail's vindictive and manipulative nature is a significant catalyst to the events and results of the witch hunt. Yet, this character's fate remains indefinite and is a lingering loose end to Miller's tragedy. Abigail is most often considered the play's villain and the lack of just punishment for her leaves the audience dissatisfied. Abigail initiates a sly game of finger pointing that leads to ample victims executed. She also greedily finds satisfaction in this game as it gives her a new kind of power that her reputation in the community did not previously grant. Abigail finds control over the "keys of the kingdom" and handles it with reckless, selfish hands. It is thus unnerving to the audience that she runs away from Salem, fleeing retribution and leaving others to sort out the mayhem she had caused. In the end of The Crucible, the Good met with unjust fate, while the Evil endured with no apparent punishment.

Miller's tactic is clearly far from Shakespearean. The tragedy leaves the villain's fate unaddressed, and in fact, Abigail's name is mentioned only once in the final act. Her lack of contribution to the conclusion of the play suggests that Miller only used her as a tool to mould his tragedy. Abigail is used only intermittently to manipulate the play and is eventually "thrown out", absent from the final form of the piece. Her role in shaping Miller's work mirrors her character in the play. Abigail's status as an orphan and her scandal with the Proctors make her a slight outcast in the community, just as her character did not seem to truly belong in the play. Abigail is rebuffed by John Proctor when he no longer finds her desirable, just as Miller disregards her in the conclusion of the play because he has no further need of her. Abigail Williams is perhaps then not truly a scheming villain, but simply a pathetic, bratty child seeking attention. Despite her influence in the witch hunt, Abigail ultimately remains neglected of love in Salem, of attention in the conclusion of the play, and of sympathy from the audience.

EF_Team2 1 / 1,708  
Feb 22, 2007   #2

What a well-written essay! I enjoyed reading it very much! I cannot agree that you "beat around the bush" at all, though. It seems to me that you not only came to a solid conclusion but wrapped up the ending very nicely with your last sentence. I love how you create a sort of triumverate of neglect of poor Abigail -- that of Salem, the play, and the audience.

The only correction I can make is to this sentence: "Abigail is a small-minded girl overflowed with resentment." I think more appropriate would be "overflowing."

Truly excellent work!


Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP rollagasper 5 / 4  
Feb 23, 2007   #3
Thank you Sarah, for taking time to edit. Just to let you know I appreciate it!
EF_Team2 1 / 1,708  
Feb 23, 2007   #4
And I appreciate your letting me know! Thank you!


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