In The Crucible, Abigail Williams has antisocial disorder, also known as sociopathy. This condition is caused by factors including early life experience and learned behavior. This reflects Abigail’s situation because it is known that she witnessed her parents being killed right in front of her when she was a child. Then as an orphan, she was raised by her uncle, Reverend Samuel Parris, who was not an honourable man. When these factors are combined with neglect and separation, like her experience with John Proctor, it causes a person to develop this personality disorder.
People with this mental condition show no value for right or wrong, and they ignore the rights of others. The main symptoms of this disorder acquired by Abigail are that she lies persistently, has a lack of remorse for behavior, and disregards the needs and feelings of others. Abigail Williams shows many signs of sociopathy, therefore having a high chance of being diagnosed with this disorder. First of all, Abigail lies persistently for her own personal gain. From the beginning of the play, it was known that she had an endless capacity to lie.
Abigail danced in the forest and drank blood, then accused her enemies of being witches to cover up for her inappropriate actions. This was a very impulsive decision because she clearly did not think about the end result in that moment. Accusing people of witchery was not taken lightly back then and resulted in the execution of innocent people. Abigail knew the negative consequences of her insane lie, but not once considered admitting to her mistakes and telling the truth. Her lies also put fragile people on edge for doing the right thing.
For example, John Proctor convinced Mary Warren to tell the truth in court, but then Abigail accused Mary of sending her evil spirits into her. This put poor Mary Warren on edge and was almost executed because of it, so she gave into the lie and betrayed John Proctor. As a bonus for Abigail, the townspeople of Salem were sympathetic and showed affection towards her because they felt sorry for her. Abigail was gaining power at the expense of innocent people’s lives, which shows how she lies for her personal gain. Second of all, Abigail has a lack of remorse for her behavior.
Abigail accused the people she disliked of being witches and ruined their lives, but never felt any sort of guilt for it. For example, Abigail slept with John Proctor when she worked as a servant for him, despite the fact that he was married and had kids. Instead of feeling guilty for the affair, she was determined to end his marriage with Elizabeth so she could have John all to herself, even though he did not feel the same way. Abigail drank blood to put a curse on Elizabeth, and also accused her of practising witchcraft to get rid of her.
On the other hand, John knows that he made a huge mistake and felt a great amount of guilt for committing the crime of lechery. As an act to save his wife and the lives of the innocent people condemned, he confesses his sin to the court to prove that Abigail was a fraud. Abigail realises the effect that her actions have on the Proctor family, but she still denies the truth, putting John in jail. This example shows how Abigail ruined the lives of innocent people but showed no empathy for them.
Lastly, Abigail has a disregard for others needs or feelings. This is a major symptom of sociopathy that shows how selfish she was. Abigail simply does everything for herself and fails to acknowledge what other people want. In act one, the girls, including Mary Warren, wanted to tell the truth because they understood the consequences of witchery: “Abby, we’ve got to tell. Witchery’s a hangin’ error, a hangin’ like they done in Boston two year ago! We must tell the truth, Abby! You’ll only be whipped for dancin’, and the other things! ” (Miller 18).
However, Abigail refuses to tell the truth and does not care about how scared the girls are feeling. She even expressed how she would bring a “pointy reckoning” to any one of them if they were to confess. By threatening to kill the girls if they reveal the truth about her, she is disregarding their needs and feelings. Overall, Abigail has antisocial disorder because she demonstrates many of the symptoms through her actions. She lies persistently, shows no remorse for her behavior, and disregards the feelings of others, which are all main symptoms of sociopathy.
This is considered a lifelong condition that is hard to treat because a person may be in denial that they need help, but certain symptoms may decrease over time. Antisocial disorder is not typically diagnosed before age 18, but signs and symptoms occur during teenage years. This reflects Abigail’s situation because she is 17 years old and shows many signs of sociopathy. In conclusion, Abigail Williams from The Crucible has antisocial disorder because she tends to antagonize, manipulate, and treat others harshly for her own benefit.