The Crucible

by: Arthur Miller

Antagonist

Abigail is the antagonist of the play. She stands opposed to John Proctor, even though she claims to love him and want to be with him. Her refusal to believe that their affair is over, and her desire for revenge on John and his wife, Elizabeth, drive the action of the play. Abigail accuses Elizabeth of witchcraft and makes up lies that send both Proctors to jail, and John to his death. Abigail always acts selfishly and to save her own skin. At the same time, Abigail serves as a “crucible” for the other characters, especially John. Her actions cause him to choose between his honor and his life, and renounce his past mistakes. Abigail also causes Elizabeth to reconsider whether she’s been a good wife to John. While Abigail doesn’t change much over the course of the play, she inspires great change in others. None of the events of the plot of the play would have happened if Abigail had simply confessed to dancing in the woods with Tituba. Instead, her lies end up killing dozens of people, including the man she claims she loves.