Abigail Williams Motives In The Crucible

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Gilliana Loyola Mr. Downey Academy B 13 October, 2016 Living a Lie Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is about the people of 17th century Salem, Massachusetts during a dangerous and dynamic period. The people of Salem were Puritans and very religious so they associated witchcraft and anything impure or evil with the Devil. When the witch hysteria, which was initially caused by girls falsely accusing others, got out-of-hand, the residents of Salem conformed to the hysteria out of fear because those who were accused were intimated certainty to death. However, the accused had a chance to save themselves by confessing to a crime they did not commit. Many took advantage of the opportunity for self-preservation because it is a human instinct,…show more content…
Abigail was one of the first to be accused of witchcraft, but she dismissed the accusations by accusing and blaming others. She and the other girls first blamed Salem’s pariahs: Tituba, Sarah Good, and Goody Osburn because they were afraid of the consequences and saw the three outcasts as easy targets. The girls are considered to be an important catalyst for the witchcraft hysteria. The girls did not want to be punished for lying and doing things the society would not condone, so in order to take the attention away from them, they confessed and accused others of witchery. In the play, Mary Warren betrayed the other girls when she claimed that they are all pretending and lying about the involvement of witchcraft. Using self-preservation as a motive, Abigail pretended that Mary Warren was possessing an imaginary bird who was going to attack her and the other girls. The other girls caught onto what Abigail was doing and followed Abigail’s improvisational acting. In a panic, Mary Warren realized that there was a better chance for self-preservation if she goes along with the girls’ acts and accuses Proctor, so she plays along with the girls. During the trial, Danforth became suspicious of the girl’s integrity. In order to save herself, Abigail threatened Danforth with accusation of witchcraft. In a moment of panic, she stole money from Parris and ran away from Salem later on. Abigail decided to run away from the consequences…show more content…
The characters used self-preservation as motivation for various reasons, but there are some who abandon self-preservation. Abigail Williams was motivated to run away from the consequences because of her instinct for self-preservation. Reverend Samuel Parris was prompted to sustain his reputation, so he conformed to the witchcraft hysteria. There were also people whose morals and ideals suppressed their motivation for self-preservation, such as, John Proctor and Rebecca Nurse. Proctor was on the verge of living a lie, but in the end, his ideals and morals overcame his motivation for salvation. Rebecca Nurse held a good reputation within the society before the accusations, but it does not save her from the hangman’s noose; she died in the end because her morals overpowered self-preservation. Goody Nurse had immense faith in God and did not want to denounce it by confessing to a crime she did not commit. Overall, there were some characters who did and some who did not use self-preservation as a motive for their
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