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Blame in The Crucible by Miller

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Obsessed, a word used to describe a person who fills their mind of someone continually and to a troubling extent. The Crucible is the story of the town of Salem, Massachusetts, and its deadly witch trials. One girl’s false accusations against innocent people are enough to transform this town into anarchy. Abigail Williams is certainly responsible for John Proctor’s death in The Crucible considering her infatuation with John Proctor, confirming Miller’s argument that obsession is always dangerous.

It is unprincipled for Abigail to lie in front of the high authority of Salem. For example, Abigail was dishonest with her uncle, Reverend Parris, about why she was let go from the Proctor’s service. During a conversation between Abigail and her uncle as his daughter Betty lay comatose in bed, Parris says, “Abigail is there any other cause than you have told me, for your being discharged from Goody Proctor’s service?” Abigail responds with, “They want slaves, not such as I. Let them send to Barbados for that. I will not black my face for any of them”(Miller 12). Abigail, without a doubt, knows the true reason she was fired was because of her intimate relationship with John Proctor. John’s wife, Elizabeth Proctor, found out about the situation between him and Abigail leading her to kick Abigail out of her house. Abigail believes John loves and cares for her as much as she does for him which is why she is so quick to lie because in her mind she is protecting their relationship. Talk of witchcraft is already starting in town after the girls were found in the woods and the fear of people finding out the truth causes Abigail to accuse random people from the town of being involved with the devil. In addition, she lies again to a judge. After chaos in town following these allegations, Abigail is questioned in court by Deputy Governor Danforth about the legitimacy of her accusations. Danforth asks, “Is it possible, child, that the spirits you have seen are illusions only, some deception that may cross your mind when-”, Abigail interrupts speaking, “I have been near to murdered every day because I have done my duty pointing out the Devil’s people- and this is my reward? To be mistrusted, denied, and questioned”(Miller 108). Danforth gives Abigail a way to fix all the problems she caused in the town and all the lives she has taken but she again lies and instead turns the blame onto him. Abigail’s affectionate obsession with John Proctor has lead her to lie and making false accusations which put everyone in town in danger and, ultimately, killed.

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Abigail Williams is responsible for John Proctor’s death as she falsely accuses innocent people of being involved with the devil. Mary Warren, who now works for the Proctors, came back to their house with news of Elizabeth being accused. Elizabeth’s first thought of who accused her is Abigail. Elizabeth states, “It is her dearest hope, John, I know it. There be a thousand names; why does she call mine?”, she goes on to say, “ She’d dare not to call out such a farmers wife, but there be monstrous profit in it. She thinks to take my place, John”(Miller 61). Elizabeth believes that Abigail is so in love with her husband that she would go to the lengths of accusing her. With Abigail knowing that Elizabeth could be killed for being involved in witchcraft, her plan of taking Elizabeth’s place and have John for herself would happen soon. Abigail does not understand right from wrong and would have someone killed just so she could have what she wants. Back in court, Mary Warren eventually tries telling the truth but is stopped as she is mocked and accused of relations to the devil. As Danforth questions Abigail, she stops, looks up to the ceiling, and says, “Oh, Mary, this is a Black art to change your shape.”, she continues to cry, “Mary please don’t hurt me”(Miller 115). Abigail describes seeing Mary shift into a bird, while she and the rest of the girls mock her. Abigail understands the risk of lying to the court and cannot have Mary tell the truth. Abigail is willing to extend the lie to protect herself and her relationship with John. Therefore, Abigail’s obsession with John Proctor turns into an infatuation with the pretense of the witch trials. Abigail would go to the extreme lengths of putting innocent people’s lives at risk not only for her obsession with John, but her obsession with this pretense. Abigail’s acts, which are considered to be greatly immoral, are most certainly putting the whole town through a life-threatening situation.

Some people would say John Proctor is responsible for his death when he had the chance to sign the confession for Salem to see; however, he wanted to protect his name allowing his pride to get in the way. Proctor says, “Because it is my Name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!” (Miller 143). Proctor wanted to protect his name, as it is the only one he will ever have. He does not want to tarnish his children, town, or history. Therefore, he joins his friends at the gallows. So, Proctor is killed because of his affair and his efforts to try to make things right to spare his wife and family from a lifetime of shame. Some claim Proctor is to blame for his own death, due to having a choice in living in shame or dying in glory, but Abigail Williams is still the main cause of Proctor’s death. Proctor says, “She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave! And well she might, for I thought of her softly. God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat. But it is a whore’s vengeance, and you must see it now” (Miller 274). Proctor exposes Abigail’s jealousy and deceit. He also puts his life on the line because the affair goes against the laws of God. Proctor knew the cost of telling the truth but he chose to save his family from shame. Some people would disagree with saying that Abigail was not responsible for John Proctor’s death, but they are incorrect. Some people believe Abigail is too young to know right from wrong however she is a lot more mature than her age. After the girls were caught dancing in the woods, Abigail threatens all of them to not speak of what happened. She says, “And you know I can do it. I saw Indians smash my dear parents’ heads on the pillow next to mine, and I have seen some reddish work done at night, and I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down”(Miller 20). Having to go through her parents’ death has made her mature in her life, but not in the sense that she understands what is moral, but that she knows how life socially works. Abigail’s lies forced Proctor’s hand and ultimately caused his death. Those who say Abigail is too young to understand morality or think John Proctor himself is to blame is incorrect.

Due to her delusional love for John Proctor, Abigail Williams is the most to blame for John Proctor’s death proving that obsession is always threatening to society. Abigail compulsively lies too high authority, accuses innocent people without hesitation, and is mature enough to know right from wrong justifying that she is the character most responsible for John Proctor’s death in The Crucible. Those who are fixated on one person are likely to do whatever needs to be done to get what they want. Those who are obsessed tend to become absent-minded and unaware of their surroundings which is not only an immediate risk for them but any person they come in contact with. But an obsessive love will also endanger those who are innocent. John Proctor, innocent of witchcraft in the play The Crucible, suffers the ultimate loss, death!        

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