Abigail loved John Proctor, a married man, in which her jealousy of his wife leads her to practice witchcraft. Abigail’s friend, Betty, accuses her of practicing witchcraft, “You did, you did! You drank a charm to kill John Proctor’s wife!” (Miller 18). Abigail's jealousy of wanting to be with John Proctor led to her accusations of witchcraft against innocent people in order to conceal her displays of witchcraft on John Proctor’s wife. Similarly, in the Witch Child, jealousy occurs amongst three young girls who desire a husband.
The main story in the book is about how the girl lied to everyone about doing witchcraft to save them selves. They lied specifically about seeing certain people in the town standing next to the devil or there names in the devils book. “Let either of you breath a word or a edge of a word about the other things.. I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you” (Miller, 148) shows just
Abigail then admits to seeing the devil and that they were doing rituals, but that she did not want to she then blamed it on Parris’s slave Tituba, Abigail said that she obligated her to. Abigail then tells John Proctor (a man she had been having an affair with in the past) that the ill girls had nothing to with witchcraft. Elizabeth tells John to tell Reverend Hale what she had said, but he claimed that they would not believe him. The girls then started blaming innocent people of witchcraft from all ages claiming they saw the devil with them. There were many people who were hung pleading that they had nothing to do with witchcraft.
Those who would admit to being a witch would go to jail, but for those who denied having interaction with the devil would have been trialed and hung, so really, anyway you put it it’s a lose-lose situation. Things like politics, religion, imaginations, and fear of people were just some of the main factors of what aided people into believing that Satan was upon the town of Salem. They believed that the humans were with devil and doing as he said which in turn gave them the power to harm others. One girl named Tituba was trying to save herself by confessing to witchcraft. She didn’t just confess but she also accused many other women about being witches and she said that they all were in the “hands of Satan”.
Two women in the play that display this ability are Elizabeth Proctor and Abigail Williams. The first example of an influential woman, is Elizabeth Proctor. She is wife to John Proctor and, though she may seem to wield little power in her relationship with him, she has great influence and power over his eventual fate. Many women in this novel are submissive and often hysterical but Elizabeth holds her ground and when accused and put on trial, is confident in her innocence. To the reader she comes off as level headed and just, even through the adultery committed by her husband
The Victorian Era is known for a pious, sexless society where women were considered inferior. While strides have been taken, there is still an inherent bias against sexually liberated women. This shame is still relevant to society today because of its abuse by those in power. Day by day, political scandals involving sexual assault and rape are being revealed on the news. This is only indicative of the willingness of the elite to abuse those working under them- especially young naive women.
In Mists of Avalon, Morgaine, a Pagan priestess, mocks witchcraft paranoia by saying “And as for sorcery-- well, there are ignorant priests and ignorant people, who are all too ready to cry sorcery if a woman is only a little wiser than they are” (Bradley 1195). Catholics in Mists of Avalon feared the Pagans and criticized their religion ignorantly. Christians burned suspected witches or sorceresses with little to no evidence in Le Morte d’Arthur. Once the religious Elaine wondered about Morgaine, “How could any woman be so good when she worshipped devils and refused Christ” (Bradley 710). The Pagan society had different ideas about “natural” gender roles and qualities (Stypczynski 2).
Abigail moved on from accusing the lowly outcasts of Puritan society to the more influential and respected men and women. She, with the help of other girls, accused Rebecca Nurse, Martha Corey, and John Proctor of harassing and tempting her with the Devil’s book (Yost). Only a few people challenged Abigail’s accusations of the higher class. A man named Joseph Hutchinson claimed that Williams had told him that she had the ability speak with the devil as just as easily as she could with him (“About Abigail Williams”). The Court of Oyer and Terminer accepted spectral evidence meaning that any little statement could mean certain death to the accused if they did not confess (“Salem Witch Trials”).
Miller argues that leadership through fear is the most effective leadership style, although it has some negatives. Through the use of intimidation Abigail Williams controls all the other girls in town. Abigail Williams proves this when she is being questioned for dancing in the forest. She puts the blame on Tituba and this where all the accusations start, “Sometimes I wake and find myself standing in the open doorway and not a stitch on my body! I always hear her laughing in my sleep.