The Crucible

The Two Opposing Female Roles in “The Crucible” 11th Grade

“Does this dress make me look fat?” It’s a common conception; women tell each other to wear black because the contrast is slimming. Politicians run attack ads on components to make themselves look better in comparison. The literary technique of contrast was evidently not unknown to American playwright Arthur Miller. In The Crucible, the juxtaposed characters Abigail Williams and Elizabeth Proctor are foils of each other. While the two women’s roles are similar in their relation to John Proctor, Miller also contrasts them in three major ways: social position, activity or passivity of character, and morality. Presented in contrasts, these three central themes are emphasized to illustrate the many factors at play in the events of the Salem Witch Trials.

Elizabeth is a mainly passive character while Abigail is at times virtually the sole aggressor within the events of The Crucible. Firstly, even the background information that sets the scene -the driving friction between 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 common names in Act I, in front...

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