The author of this Ted Talk, Parul Sehgal, a literacy critic and an editor for the New York Times book review, talks about jealousy and relates it to fiction. She says that jealousy/envy is the very thing that drives many characters in many fictional pieces, such as in The Odyssey, Shakespeare, The Great Gatsby. Sehgal says that without jealousy, it is possible that we wouldn’t even have literature. She also says that Jealousy must be fed and that “jealousy prompts us to behave in ways that are wildly inventive”. We all do crazy things when jealous and a perfect example of this is Abigail’s actions in The Crucible. All of the witchcraft hysteria in the village of Salem was ultimately caused by Abigail’s envy of Elizabeth Proctor and her relationship with John Proctor. In the very beginning of the book, there was dancing, chanting, and even drinking blood in the woods involving Abigail and other girls in the village that was meant to kill Elizabeth Proctor. Abigail is extremely envious of Elizabeth because Abby has become obsessed with John and will do anything to get rid of Elizabeth so that she and John can be together, ever since the two of them had an affair while she was working for John and Elizabeth. Throughout the book, you see Abigail’s thoughts and actions more and more unrealistic and outrageous. She accuses Elizabeth Proctor (along with many others in the village) of witchcraft and even stabs herself in the stomach to make it look like Elizabeth stabbed her with her spirit. Her many attempts to win the love of John were ultimately futile since he was hanged in the end.
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