ACT 1 – Scene 2
This takes place in Betty’s bedroom where Abigail and Mercy, the Putnam’s
servant, are trying to wake Betty.
Abigail instructs Mercy as to what she is to say about the goings-on in the
The Reverend Parris has already established that in addition to the dancing,
Tituba was trying to raise Ruth’s dead sisters.
Mercy is the unidentified naked female.
Rumours concerning the witchcraft are spreading in Salem and this news
worries the girls because they may be labelled as witches.
Mary Warren enters the room.
She is the Proctor’s servant and she confirms the rumours about witchcraft. The girls begin to argue and Betty awakes. It now transpires that Abigail also drank blood in the woods and tried to cast a spell in order to kill Goody Proctor. She threatens the others to keep quiet or she will practice witchcraft on them. The story is that they only danced and that Tituba raised Ruth’s sisters from the dead.
Betty collapses again.
Abigail emerges as the leader of the girls. She clearly instigated the
behaviour in the woods for her own agenda.
She had a sexual relationship with Proctor and desires to possess him for herself. There is no way in the Puritan society that he could leave his wife and go with her, so her only alternative of being with the man she lusts after, is through the death of Elizabeth Proctor. She, therefore, casts a spell to destroy her rival.
The other girls are clearly terrorised by Abigail who bullies them into
staying silent about her spell casting and drinking blood.
Abigail is the source of evil in the community. She intimidates those
close to her and uses deceit in order to obtain her goals. Her maliciousness will escalate as the play unfolds.
“Let either of you breathe a word '' about the other things and I will come
to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you.”
This is a prelude for the accusations of witchcraft against other members of
the community that Abigail will make.
At present Abigail is seeking self-preservation, but she will learn that she
has power and she will use this fully towards the end of the story.
The audience, therefore, becomes aware that Abigail is dangerous. The
extent of this danger will grow as we realise how weak the Puritan society is.
The major conflict of characters will be between Goody Proctor and Abigail