"The Crucible" was written by Arthur Miller and first produced during 1953, the middle of the McCarthy political "witch-hunt" in America. This meant that it was seen as a political parable although the story had appealed to the playwright for many years. The play is prefixed by Miller's own note on the historical accuracy of the play, he explains that the play is based on truth and the events did take place. However he has preferred to change specific things, such as Abigail Williams" age to emphasise the horrific event that was taking place.
In the play it is possible to understand and feel empathetic towards Abigail and her behaviour. This is because we get to know about her past traumatic experiences. Finding out about Abigail's past means that as the play progresses her position and strength do not appear sceptical. Early on in the play at the beginning of act one part of Abigail's past unfolds whilst she threatens Betty and the other girls:.
"Abigail: I saw Indians smash my dear parents" heads on the pillow next to mine, and I have seen some reddish work done at night, and I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down!".
Also, early on in the play shortly after Abigail's threats towards the other girls, her past with John Proctor is revealed. It is clear almost immediately that Abigail is in love with John and she is frustrated when John denies that he loves her. It is also made apparent, earlier than Abigail's love for John is, that Abigail has a strong dislike for John's wife. Abigail uses words such as bitter, cold, snivelling and gossiping whilst talking about Elizabeth Proctor, first to Reverend Parris and then to John. The scenes in which Abigail says what she thinks of Elizabeth allow events later on in the play to be more believable.
Abigail remains forceful and influential throughout the play. The power she maintains over the other girls is first made evident when she threatens them at the beginning.