Ironically enough, because Salem's stern religious ethic controls all aspects of society and promotes safeguards against all immoralities and sins, the townspeople are somewhat provoked to test these prevailing social values. This becomes the case with a group of young girls lead by Abigail Williams and Tituba, who secretly dance "like heathen in the forest" (1 10) and "conjure up the dead spirits" (1 16), all tell-tale elements of witchery. Soon enough however, rumors spread and "the whole country's talkin' witchcraft", a definite "hangin' error" (1 19). Terrified, the girls entrap themselves in an atmosphere of hysteria and apprehension searching for the most painless means of ensuring their protection: shifting the blame onto someone else. Thus, in a climatic moment of confession led by Tituba, Abigail claims to "want to open[herself]" and embrace "the sweet love of Jesus" as well as announce the names of those who "trafficked with the Devil" (1 50). Consequentially, by lying, the girls become perpetual sinners; nevertheless, are able to reflect the severe punishments of witchcraft from themselves and uphold their self-preservation.
Coincidentally, the girls' initial identities as the vulnerable pawns of the devil's grand scheme rapidly transform into those of famed yet feared celebrities among the people of Salem. Taking this reality to her advantage, the opportunistic Abigail is able to expose her true malignant character by intentionally attempting to destroy the lives of others to satisfy her corrupt conscience. One such an example is her plot against Elizabeth Proctor, the wife of her former lover, John Proctor. "She is blackening my name in the village! She is telling likes about me! She is a cold, sniveling woman!" (1 24). Expressing her grievances that stem from jealousy and extreme hatred, Abigail substantiates her need for revenge. Thus, Abigail testifies to the court that it was Elizabeth's "familiar spiritthatstucka needletwo inches into the flesh of her [Abigail's] belly" (2 79). Because of the lack of any material evidence to disprove this claim, Elizabeth is automatically accused of witchcraft and taken away. Moreover, Abby's motivation for malevolence broadens even more to satisfy her growing hunger for control and authority and reassure herself of her above-the-law status. While in court, Abigail threatens, "Let you beware, Mr. Danforth. Think you to be so mighty that the power of Hell may not turn your wits? Beware of it!" (3 113) In this situation, Abigail declares herself as even a menace to a powerful and esteemed Judge, declaring her true prevailing authority even over a high-ranking official. Therefore, by developing and defining her true motivation for evil as