The Scarlet Letter

True Intentions

Corruption and narrow-minded ways of thinking often add to the chaos and confusion of a growing problem. The play, The Crucible, by Arthur Miller is set during the Salem witch trials. During these trials, fear and suspicion grow off of superstitious victims and an outbreak of hysteria in Salem. In The Crucible, three characters in particular use the commotion caused by the trials to their advantage to fulfill their private motives. The characters, Abigail Williams, Reverend Samuel Parris, and Thomas Putnam each discover that the consequences of their actions prove to be more fatal than the present problem.

Abigail Williams, as portrayed in the play, is seen as a scheming and, manipulative character creating uproar only to save herself from condemnation and to carry out her selfish intentions. Abigail is first introduced as a suspect to an act not so tolerated by the authority in the village of Salem; this act was simply dancing. However, to Abigail and girls who were with her, the gathering was not just of leisurely dancing. As implied in the following quote from Betty to Abigail, “You did, you did! You drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor!” (18), Abigail was only pretending to commit witchcraft in imaginative retaliation towards Elizabeth Proctor, the wife of Abigail’s potential lover, John Proctor. When the girls of the village and Abigail realize that they will be punished, they start to panic and lie; Lies which lead to the infamous Salem witch trials. The girls, along with Abigail acting as the ringleader, “rises, staring as though inspired and cries out” (48) names of innocent victims so that the attention and suspicion is diverted away from the girls’ wrongdoings and onto suspects of a bigger crime: witchcraft. One last example of Abigail manipulating a situation for her own benefit is during the hearing with Mary Warren, during which Hale proclaims, “This girl has always struck me false!..” (114) Abigail seizes the opportunity to use...