In the Salem witch trials, spectral evidence was enough to sentence the accused to death. Innocent people were tried and convicted on “evidence” that silly little simple things they did was due to witchcraft. Belief in witchcraft fueled a climate of hysteria and suspicion, turning everyone on eachother, casting doubts even on those of spotless reputation.
In Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, the character of Abigail William’s position of power is in upended and affect the community of Salem to illustrate the effect of mass hysteria. Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, is about the persecution of people being falsely accused of being witches in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. Many people die in the village after a series of lies and evil practices.
Abigail Williams, after having had an affair with John Proctor, who is a married man, begins this cycle of lies and accusations in an attempt to get her lover back. Her character includes both superiority and resentment throughout the entire novel. Abigail finds that she has power and people will listen to what she says, and she takes full advantage of it. Abigail Williams is a seventeen year-old girl who is the niece of Reverend Parris, Abigail was the Proctors’ servant before Elizabeth fired her for having an affair with John.
She is a hateful, hostile girl who, in an attempt to protect herself from punishment after Reverend Parris finds them dancing, instigates the Salem witch trials and leads the charge of accusations. Despite her accusations, Abigail is a bold liar who charges witchcraft against those who oppose her, even Elizabeth Proctor in an attempt to take her place as Proctor’s wife. Abigail’s cold-blooded nature stems partially from past trauma; she is an orphan who watched as her parents were murdered by Indians.