Salem and The Crucible
Salem and "The Crucible"
In Salem during the time of the witch trials everyone is either politically motivated to believe the girls wild antics are the work of the devil, or they are so gullible that they think no child could ever impishly scorn the holiness of the church. Those are the two main reasons the girls get away with accusing people of witchcraft at first, later new reasons are introduced.
After the first victims of the girls malignant joke are hung two new reasons to continue accusing people arrive. The new reason that most of the girls continue to accuse people is because if they don't then it would be the girls' fault, not Satan's that the "witches" died. One girl doesn't fit the mold of just trying to save herself, and that girl is Abigail. Abigail doesn't want to be blamed for the deaths of innocent people, but she also has her own twisted agenda of vengeance and greed that forces her to continue accusing people. For one thing she lusts after John Proctor, and she thinks that if Elisabeth is dead he will love her. Also she was somewhat of a henchman to Mrs. Putnam, and Dr. Parris, for she is eliminating Parris's enemies, and she accuses Rebecca Nurse for Mrs. Putnam. Of course Parris doesn't know her murder of innocent people is for him, but she does it out of a somewhat obsessive sense of faith to him.
Of course the other girls aren't totally innocent, but they don't have much of a choice. If they were to speak out like Mary Williams, the others would accuse them of witchcraft, just like they did to Mary. In my eyes the main reasons for the continued accusations were fear for their own life, and in Abigail a need to have John Proctor love her, and to serve Parris. When the girls involved in that madness grow up I believe that most of them will be normal if somewhat less naive about children than the average housewife. As for Abigail I see her as committing suicide, when someone else catches her at her little games.