CHARACTER AND ACTION

CHARACTERS:

  • Abigail
  • Mercy
  • Mary
  • Betty – ‘seventeen, subservient naïve, lonely girl’

ACTION:

  • The girls question about what’s wrong with Ruth and Betty
  • Abigail tell the girls that she has told her uncle Parris
  • Abigail wakes Betty
  • Betty blames Abigail and tells the girls about what she did and tries to fly then collapses again
  • Abigail threatens the girls and tells them not to tell anyone a word

THEMES AND CONTEXT

WITCHCRAFT

Mary: “They’ll be callin’ us witches” – This quote refers to Mary saying that the people of Salem will be calling them witches. This shows to the readers that if anyone was caught dancing in the woods just like the girls were they’d be called witches.

Mary: “Witchery’s a hangin’ error”– in this quote we see that Mary says witchery’s a hanging error. This indicates that to be a witch or compact with the devil in any way was a big mistake and that it could lead to people being hanged. As Arthur Miller writes a hangin’ error instead of a huge mistake, this shows that it was even worse than just a mistake and lead to serious consequences such as being hanged.

Betty: “You drank blood…You drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor”– This quote clearly is linked to witchcraft. As that is what witches would do and it was believed that witches drank blood and charmed people. Betty blames Abigail and says she drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor. At once the girls are surprised and Abigail becomes furious as Betty tries to accuse her of being a witch. Abigail slaps Betty as she knows that if the town people or anyone found out she would be in big trouble!

POWER ANS STATUS

Abigail: “And you know I can do it…I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down!”– This quote shows that Abigail had a lot of power and authority over the girls and that if she wanted to she could do anything to them to an extent such as kill them. As Abigail says I can twice it shows that she had the status & power to control and do what she wanted. Abigail warns the girls and the girls are immediately quite which shows Abigail had full control over them.

REVENGE:

Betty: “You drank a charm to kill John Proctors Wife”– We have seen that Abigail hates Elizabeth and whenever she hears her name she becomes angry and more vicious. Abigail slaps Betty across the face as soon as Betty speaks this. The readers may be convinced and believe this that Abigail may have drank a charm to kill John Proctor’s wife as she wanted revenge from her and also Abigail hated Elizabeth and wanted her out of the way so she could then have John, which is why she may have drank a charm. However as a modern audience we knew that they had only danced and that they never conjured with the devil. They were just being young girls and fooling around which makes us think that Abigail did not do such a thing.

LANGUAGE/STRUCTURE & EFFECTS

CLIPPING: “Have you tried beatin’ her?”

                     “He’ll be comin’ up

Religious: “Oh Jesus” – Even when the girls are speaking to each other as friends they use religious language which shows religion was part of their language and when they speak they’d use such words. However it can also show that they are going to be in trouble now and they remember god. Like if we do something wrong and are going to be in trouble we remember god.

Alliteration: “I’ll beat you betty”

Archaic: “What ails you betty?” – Shows that old language that they used to use. As she says what ails you Betty which we as a modern people would not say instead we would say something like what’s wrong with you?

Simile: “Walk like a dead one”

Double Negative: “dead and buried”

Imperative: “Listen now”

                       “Now look you” – Shows power and status.

Interrogatives: “What’s got her?”

                             “Oh you’re a great one for looking aren’t you, Mary Warren?”

                             “What’ll we do?” – They are all confused and question everything.

Repetition: “Mama, Mama”

                      “You did, you did”

                      “Shut it, now shut it” – shows the tension between Abigail and Betty.

 

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