Aristotle’s definition of a tragedy suggests that the antagonist is nothing more but a literary tool, a catalyst used by the author to shape the story and bring about the downfall of the fateful protagonist. It could be argued that Abigail is a 2 dimensional character; she is motivated by her desire for John Procter and hatred for his wife and there is little more in her personality but lust little more in her personality but lust and evil. However, in the play Miller continuously suggests there is more to her.
In this essay I will be discussing how convincing Abigail is as an unsympathetic character and how effective she is as the antagonist of the play. The character of Abigail Williams can be seen as having unconvincing levels of evil. She is unrealistic and Miller finds little humanity within her. Of all the character’s she could be seen as the least complex as at least on a shallow level all her actions can be seen as nothing more than evil and she is predictable in her selfishness.
Therefore, Abigail can be seen as an effective antagonist as there is little more to her then her desire for John Procter and her motivation, as she will stop at nothing to achieve her goals. Her lack of empathy presents her as a traditional antagonist, and she can be compare to Iago of Othello in her sly and spiteful nature. However, it is debateable whether Abigail has the depth of his character. Abigail is intelligent in her vindictive actions.
The witchhunts were premeditated and therefore he had planned to send innocent people to their deaths. At the start of the witchhunts she is fearful of the repercussions and “dare not call out such a farmer’s wife but there be monstrous profit in it. “. However, in the past Abigail has shown that she does not care what happens to her, for example when she offers to be whipped for dancing. Therefore the reader assumes she only fears that the witchhunts will be stopped and she wont be able to murder Elizabeth Procter showing her scheming nature.
In this, Abigail can be said to help to make the Crucible an effective tragedy; her self deprecation helps to further the play. Miller attempts to hold a Miller to what was happening in his own society and the policy of Mcarthyism. Abigail could be said to be Joseph Mcarthy in that she prosecutes others. Communism could be seen as the practise of witchcraft. “QUOTE”I think that Miller shows more dedication in making this comparison than developing her as an effective protagonist with depth.