Author: Arthur Miller; Act 1
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I think that he tries to muster some sympathy for her. She is 17 and still immature. Is she seeking attention rather than being down right nasty? Miller wants us to wrestle with her motives throughout the play.
Also the fact that she really has no parents gives us some amount of understanding. Is her crush on Proctor a father figure thing? We do feel a little sympathy for her until she gets down right crazy vindictive during the witch trials.