In the play, The Crucible, Arthur Miller describes the unforgettable events of the Salem Witch Trials through the leading female characters, Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Proctor. While the puritan girls in Salem stirrup madness, Abigail and Elizabeth are ruling above everyone for their own particular motivations. In Abigail William’s heart lies the shame and revenge while Elizabeth rest in the hands of righteousness and truth. Although they both enhance the play’s drama, their desire for John Proctor cause the deaths and issues in Salem to skyrocket.
Abigail Williams is a shrewd and deceitful eighteen-year-old girl who lays her way through problems to avoid consequences. In order to avoid getting in trouble for dancing in the woods and forcing Tituba to cast a spell on Elizabeth, she continuously made up stories about other people practicing witchcraft in her community. Not only did she make up lies about witchery, she would try to convince her uncle that Elizabeth Proctor was out to get her. “She hates me uncle, she must, for I would not be her slave. It’s a bitter woman, a lying, cold, sniveling woman, and I will not work for such a woman!” (Miller, Act 1, 12) She was not only a liar; she also was a forceful demanding woman. When any of the other girls involved with accusing others felt remotely guilty, Abigail would threaten them in order for her to get her ways. “. Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shutter you. And you know I can do it.”(Miller, Act 1, 20)
Now Elizabeth on the other hand never messed around with getting in trouble or anything that would jeopardize her chances with her husband John Proctor. Elizabeth was one hundred percent the complete opposite of Abigail. John Proctor even knew that she was the most honest and confident woman he had never met. When John came to face the jury, he allowed Elizabeth to even speak of the incident in which he had committed adultery with Abigail Williams because he knew Elizabeth would not lie about it and tell the complete truth. “In her life sir, she will never lie” (Miller, Act 3,111). The only problem was that even Elizabeth’s love for John Proctor overpowered her religious beliefs of not lying. Instead of telling
Elizabeth and Abigail both in some ways have similarities despite of their differences in moral value and character. Both of their characters are motivated by one thing, John Proctors love. As Abigail Williams mesmerizes the crowd before her in the journey with her persuading and entertaining white lies, Elizabeth Proctor is practicing her good deeds by staying righteous to her husband. Each of them in these cases are battling for John’s love.
Arthur Miller describes the Salem Witch Trials through the eventful characters, Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Proctor. While Abigail and Elizabeth’s hearts both lied in the hands of John Proctor, their character differences created a jealousy love story, causing mass hysteria in Salem. Without the roles Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Proctor, none of the chaos would have occurred.
- Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. N.p.: n.p., 1953. Print.