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This play is considered as “a study of human motivation.” But what really motivated these people to do the things they did? In a theocratic society of secrets, grudges, and lies, there was no outlet nor escape for their hidden desires or anger. The children and the court of Salem focused their anger, grudges and superstition on communion with the devil, the only thing explainable in a devout society. The townsfolk realized that the only way they could take revenge or explain the unexplainable. The hysteria thrived from those benefiting it, those with a reputation to uphold: turning honest people into scapegoats, and being able to express their repressed sentiments.
A group of young girls were seen dancing naked in the forest, in fear of being whipped or given a bad name they blamed their activity on other people, on each other, and the devil, eventually leading to a town of hysterical judgment and lies. Their motivation for allowed innocent people to be killed was over a reputation, their reputation was at risk and the only way they could uphold it was by making their problems and mistakes someone else’s fault. These weren’t only the children, Abigail Williams father was constantly worried about his reputation and name in the town being jeopardized. Abigail Williams did not want to be seen as a liar so she continued on this path of make believe while the other children and town followed.
Abigail Williams took advantage of her position, as a young helpless girl in a village full of the devil