The Presentation of Abigail Williams in Act I of the Crucible by Arthur Miller

1630 WordsFeb 24, 20137 Pages
How does Miller present the character Abigail in Act I? We are first introduced to the ‘strikingly beautiful’ Abigail Williams in Act I of one of Arthur Miller’s most acclaimed works The Crucible. She is a dominant figure in the play who is both malicious and manipulative. She is astute and knows how to use power to her own advantage by all means possible. She is a marvellous antagonist with vengeful desires and vehicle for the mass hysteria which becomes a key theme later in the play. Abigail’s dominance as a character is apparent from the opening scene when poor Betty Parris lies in bed overcome by a mysterious trance with both Tituba and Reverend Parris also present in the somewhat dull, ‘unmellowed’ room. The setting set by…show more content…
In possessing these strengths, Abigail can be seen to be beyond other characters, and really does set her apart giving her an advantage over many other characters in the play. As a result of Abigail’s dominance in the play, she holds great power over other characters- however she abuses this power and can be seen as a typical bully. She can be seen as fearful, intimidating and persuasive. She presents images of fear such as when she talks about seeing her own parents heads ‘smash’ on the pillow next to her - possibly scare the younger, more vulnerable characters. She presents malicious and domineering behaviour throughout the act and as a result of this behaviour she can be seen as the vehicle behind the mass hysteria as she knows that her fellow characters will do as she says; creating a snowball effect of hysteria. Her selfishness is another aspect to consider, this is a quality something many bullies posses. We can see this clearly when Abigail is threatening Betty after she screams out ‘Mama, Mama!’ – she says ‘I’ again and again, which really emphasizes her self- centred personality. Throughout the act she then takes the opportunities to look after herself and uses situations to her advantage also , which can be seen in the case where she blames Tituba despite Abigail being the one encouraging the

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