In Salem, the act of witchcraft is taken seriously and is punishable by death. When one of the main characters, Abigail, is in danger of being accused of this she is willing to take any risk to take the blame off of herself. Even if it means pinning it on the ones closest to her.
Suggestion: Connect where it is going with Abigail from the start. It doesn't seem so much fear, as an opportunity for her schemes.
In Salem, the accusation of witchcraft is fully accepted by the townspeople, and with witchcraft's mere allegation resulting in death, the members respond in fear when accused. When Abigail, an antagonist anyway, is accused of witchcraft, she takes that fear and uses the opportunity to suggest the blame belongs to others, particularly John Proctor's wife, as she schemes to eliminate her rival.