In the end Proctor gets hung and loses his life to save Elizabeth and other people of the community. Everyone is shocked at what has happened, and is more than confused why Proctor has died because of his view in the town, of being a lawful citizen. Abigail Williams also has moral problems in the play, and probably causes the most trouble throughout the play. She has to keep on lying to the court to keep her life and to try to kill Elizabeth so she can have John. Abigail is the most immature girl in the play when it comes to common sense, she can’t see why she should stop, she is loving the attention and can’t stop the accusations.
There is a certain amount of sexual repression in the town when it comes to the girls, they want the men of the town to themselves and not to the older women. Abigail in my view gets an amount of pleasure when she accuses people and watches them die by hanging. Her moral problems are to do with continuing the accusing and the killing to get what she wants, even though in the back of her head I think that she knows by the end even if it all stops, and if Elizabeth dies, she won’t be able to get Proctor because of what she has done. She is also afraid of what will come to her if she gives in and tells the truth about lying.
She doesn’t want to lose her life, even if it means loads of people die if she can survive. Through the accusations she can get back at people that might have caused her trouble in the past, or even just given her a bad look in the street. She wants to keep killing and accusing people, it gives her power and a feeling of highness in the hierarchy of the town. This can also be related back to the sexual repression that she is going through, she feels as though she can do what she wants, and accuse people of whatever she wants to get her own way, and this makes her feel good.
Abigail, out of fear, denies her own guilt and accuses others, this is a pattern that has already become established in Salem, and one that refers strongly with the McCarthy trials I talked about at the start of the essay. (page 36) -Abigail- “she makes me drink blood” This is a good example of passing the blame onto other people, Abigail tells Parris and Mrs. Putnam that Tituba conjured the devil and that she made her drink blood, she does this to try and get out of trouble and this is where the hysteria begins.
By the end of the play I think that Abigail starts to believe her own lies, she has got so involved and so integrated with the trials that she believes all of this has happened and forgets what it was all about at the start of it all when they were just dancing. Abigail is the most selfish person in the play. She will always accuse others. Most people get very scared of her because everyone believes the reverends daughter and won’t question her authority. She knows in the back of her mind that if she is found out it is all over for her, and she will be charged with whatever the court sentences her to, which would most likely be death.
Parris plays a selfish character too, he doesn’t care for much but himself. He doesn’t really care about Abigail in any way. He speaks at the start as if there is nothing wrong with her even though she can’t wake. He is very hesitant in his actions and his words. He is very nervous about anyone finding out about Abigail and her sickness. This makes his language and words very fast and uncertain, we can definitely see his character from the start of the play. Instead of worrying about his daughter he is much more concerned about his name in the town and his appearance.
“I must know it now, for surely my enemies will and they will win me with it. ” This means if people find out about Abigail then people will surely question what has been happening in his house, and what sort of reverend he makes. He knows everyone will believe Hale, and if he can get Hale to believe that there is nothing wrong then there will be no harm in the situation. “I pray you, leap not to witchcraft. ” It is obvious that Parris’ aggressive approach to Abigail leads her to lie about what has happened, he won’t stop arguing till he get what he wants.
He wants to make sure she won’t tell anyone something that will dirty his name. “Abigail I have fought three long years to bend these stiff-necked people to me, and now just when some good respect is rising for the parish, you compromise my very character. ” Parris has one simple moral issue, this is to tell the people exactly what his happening and exactly what the girls are doing to everyone. He won’t tell everyone that it is all a mess about because he starts to believe what is happening to the girls from there lying.
Mary Warren also has a part in the play which could have saved lives if she had not been so anxious and nervous. Her moral issue was to come forward out of the gang of girls and tell the court that Abigail is lying to everyone and that the girls are just following her so they can’t get accused of anything. She does go to the court and she tries to tell them that Abigail is messing about, she says it is all pretence. (page 85) -Hathorn- “and yet when people accused of witchery confronted you in court, you would faint, saying their spirits came out of their bodies and choked you-”
-Mary- “that were pretence sir”. There is also a different type of moral issue in the play. We see a great difference in the personality of the girls when they are in the group compared to when they are by themselves confronted. When they are in the group they follow whatever Abigail says, they don’t want to stand out and tell the truth because of their fear of Abigail. They follow everyone’s actions in the court scene when hysteria takes over. We see a much different personality in the girls by themselves, they open up more and tell what they think to people they trust more.
Mary Warren is the best example of this when she comes home to the Proctors’ house after she has been to the court, she tells John and Elizabeth exactly what she thinks and what she has seen. But as soon as the hysteria breaks through she doesn’t stand out any more and she is overpowered by Abigail and the girls. (page 87) -Mary- “let me go, Mr. Proctor, I cannot, I cannot” As we can see moral issues add great gripping drama to the play. It is almost a type of irony in some ways.
We can see what people are thinking when characters in the play can’t. The fact that everyone can come forward and tell the truth at any time adds very good drama to the play. Everyone has there own issue that they are trying to cope with, and trying to get solved while not being accused. The play is very good, and it shows a great outline of the society in those days in the 17th century related to the McCarthy trials in America. All in all I think that moral issues add a great deal of drama and that Miller has composed the play in a very good way.