Abigail Williams was historically quite different from how she was depicted in The Crucible and yet her character remained faithful to the original. The real Abigail Williams was only a child of eleven years old at the time of the Salem Witch Trials, not a teenage girl seeking revenge in order to be with the man that she loves (“About Abigail Williams”). Williams was likely an orphan as she lived with her uncle. Not much is known about her parents or how she came to live with Reverend Parris (“The “Afflicted””). Her lack of a stable two parent home may have contributed to her psychological need for attention and her role as the foremost of the “targeted” and “harassed” accusing girls.
Some chain of events that happened was that the people of Salem started to panic about the news of them being witches. They began to fear because back then they did believe that witches were real. Tituba had mentioned that there were other witches around the neighborhood. So many people were being blamed that they were witches and they had to go on trial. Some people were becoming scared because they had no proof that those people they accused were witches.
Although many characters participated in the Salem witch trials, Abigail Williams was the main source of the consequences. From her threats to the Salem girls, they followed her into doing wrong. In The Crucible, Abigail threatens the girls that if they mention anything to anyone, then she will hurt, or ultimately kill, them at night. Because of this, all the girls, who took part of the witchcraft that one night, did as she told them and accused those who she accused. Abigail and the Salem girls' pretense caused an uproar of mistrust and allegations towards innocent people, which caused their reputations and lives to go down.
“ I have seen them through their silly seasons, and when it come on them they will run the Devil bowlegged keeping up with their mischief ”. ( Miller 147) Rebecca Nurse has seen the silly season one too many times, but is this situation the children's silly season? Whether it was their silly season for the children or true witchcraft, the Salem Witchcraft Trials all revolved around 17- year old Abigail Williams. When Abigail feels threatened by Betty Parris, everything changes, for one slip up of the truth could end Abigail Williams.
Gender roles played a heavy role in colonial society, and the women who did not conform to these roles were easy targets for witchcraft accusations. Women who were post-menopausal, widowed, unmarried were not fulling their “duty” to society of bearing children and thus could come under fire (Lecture.) Those who were aggressive, out spoken, or did not do as another wished could also bring cries of “witch!” (Lecture.) This is highlighted in Cotton Mather’s Accounts of the Salem Witchcraft Trials, one of these accused women Susana Martin stands trial with many of the testifiers being men who had been wronged by Martin in some way or another.
In the book, The Witches: Salem 1692, the author Stacy Schiff attempts to condense a large volume of research into a cohesive narrative that tries to avoid to much speculation. There is some contention that the book does speculate into the motives of primary accusers that some reviewers have intimated are bordering on fiction. However, the author defends her arguments logically, and her inferences do seem to bridge the gaps effectively. One of the items that causes some confusion, to both the historically curious, and to the researcher is that the author has created a list of dramatis personae in which the historical figures are labeled as a cast of characters which might make the book seem fictional.
The Witchcraft Trials 1. Question: How did the Salem witchcraft trials reflect attitudes toward women and the status of women in colonial New England? Answer: The people of Salem looked down upon property owning widows or any women who did not fit the social norm. The upper echelon wanted the women of Salem to be of lower rank than the males and any women who was not subordinate to a man was considered suspect.
The Salem Witch Trials have been going on for far too long, and they must come to an end soon. Every day I hear about people who are being imprisoned because of accusations of witchcraft. You are sentencing these people to die for their crimes, leaving behind their families and friends. This is a crime itself, and it is more of a crime than witchcraft. Many of the people you have imprisoned, have been imprisoned without any proof that they committed witchcraft, and this is unfair to the accused, and to their families.
In 1692 Salem Massachusetts, social power and status was dominated by male figures that could prove and constantly defend their strict moral purity. Power came from reputation, and reputation was defined in the eyes of God. Woman on the other hand held virtually no social power until marriage, and even then were considered voiceless in the social hierarchy. Girls held the least power in the social order, representing a financial burden to their families that needed to be repaid in the role of servant. Betty Parris, however defies this social order.
Men and women also had different takes on sin. Women were more likely to read their sins as a pact with the devil no matter how severe the sin was whereas men paid close attention to the sin as an individual moment of weakness in which they would be able to return to their relationship with God. Believing that they could turn to the devil themselves, women were more likely to then accept that other women could be equally demonized.