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A look at the 2 opposing female roles in The Crucible
Elizabeth is a mainly passive character while Abigail is at instances virtually the sole aggressor within the events of The Crucible. Firstly, even the background information that sets the scene -the driving friction among Elizabeth and Abigail that leads to accusations of witchcraft – wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Abigail’s actions with John Proctor. In Act I, Abigail gets Betty to rise “from the bed, a fever in her eyes…” and chant falsities about frequent names in Act I, in front of Putnam and Parris (Miller 44). From then on, she controls the village in a puppeteer’s show of manipulation, rumoring, and false accusations come accurate. Abigail’s was the pointing finger towards so many of the accused, attacking, destroying, and usually taking their lives. All along, the unsuspecting Elizabeth Proctor is concerned with her domestic affair and has no involvement till her accusation. When offered the likelihood to give her intervening word in her husband’s fate, she remains passive: “I can't judge you, John” (Miller 125).
A second substantial difference is that Abigail and Elizabeth come from differing social standpoints. The specifics of which set the stage for the envy and vengeance that took place in The Crucible. Elizabeth Proctor has a homestead, a husband, and essentially, much more reputation in Salem to lose. Abigail Williams is just a girl of 17, young and un-married – but in a position to tempt John Proctor. Abigail attends church daily, keeping up with her Puritan image. However, she has conveniently driven Elizabeth to seldom attend. Because Abigail was in cahoots with the other servant girls, she had a way of indirectly corrupting Proctor’s house. When opportunity presented itself, the specifics came with each other, and it was all as well straightforward for Abigail to convict Elizabeth of witchcraft, in hopes of stealing her security. “She thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave!” John exclaims in court (Miller 102). The two girls preserve this division to the end, Elizabeth going amongst the innocent and Abigail constantly preserving her function as the persecutor
Ultimately, in comparison to Abigail, who has become morally corrupt, Elizabeth Proctor serves to represent the social and moral requirements and expectations of the setting. She is a correct Christian woman. Although Abigail is exploiting the fears of Christianity for her personal selfish desires, Elizabeth is on a much more wholesome quest to fix her marriage. In the finish, she is able to overcome John’s sin by enabling him to forgive himself, although Abigail sat on his other shoulder and encouraged him to sin once again the complete time. That is, while she wasn’t busy worshipping the devil and wishing harm on other folks in the woods. “You did, you did! You drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor!”, Betty violently remembers from her sickbed. It also is worth noting that Elizabeth was mentioned to have never lied “In her life sir…my wife can't lie” (Miller 103). When she lastly disproved that sentiment it was only with the intention of bailing out her husband (whom she really condemned). At this point, one may well look to Abigail and her long stream of lies against the men and women about her, and judge one’s morals against another’s.
A village breaks out into hysteria, twenty folks end up dead at the hands of Massachusetts State, and two women caught up in the very same love affair can be identified at the heart of it all. The events of The Crucible demonstrate how a individual conflict can grow to touch a neighborhood and the influence we can select to have on other people’s lives. Overall, the actions of Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Proctor contribute to the play’s themes of morality and social standing, and convey a message about those who try to trade one for the other. Even right now, Miller’s drama maintains its relevancy, like a historical allegory, as human behaviors repeat.
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Level: High School
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