EMOTIONAL CONFLICTS In the play, The Crucible, Author Miller develops numerous conflicts between characters. Miller sets his play in Salem Massachusetts, an environment with which was notoriously known for its witch trials of 1692. As reverend of Salem and father and uncle of initially accused witches, Reverend Parris plays an enormous role in the plot of this story. Young Abigail is the heart and soul of the witch trials, leading all the other girls in the accusations. The strong-willed John Proctor displays a steady manner, but his sins cannot be hidden and he cannot be freed of them. Through the use of conflicts Miller displays emotions and a lack of morality.
The conflicts that are the most expressive are the conflicts between Reverend Parris and Abigail, Reverend Parris and Proctor and Proctor and Abigail. The conflict regarding John proctor and Reverend Parris is an outward one. Neither character shows any remorse for vocally or physically showing their feelings. John Proctor illustrates these feelings when he responds to Reverend Hale’s question about having his third child baptized in saying, “I like it not that Mr. Parris should lay his hand upon my baby. I see no light of God in that man.
I’ll not conceal it.” (65).
Rev. Parris is not innocent in this conflict, he too holds contempt towards John Proctor. In one case Parris tries to persuade the judges in believing that Proctor was mischief and that he was a liar (89).
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The conflict, solved by the hanging of John Proctor, was a bitter one of greed and jealousy. Continuing with the conflicts involving Parris, Abigail, his niece proved to be a difficult one.
Anyone would have conflicts with the high spirited adolescent, being a liar and a hypocrite. Parris blames Abigail for Betty’s illness in the beginning of the novel and he believes the rumors of the town’s people who say that her name is not entirely white (12) The conflict is settled when Abigail confesses her encounters with the devil and Parris believes her. In being the young woman that she is, Abigail creates the conflict between herself and John Proctor. It seems that he wants nothing more to do with her and this angers Abigail and she displays her hatred towards Elizabeth in saying, “Oh, I marvel how such a strong man may let such a sickly wife be-” (23) when she is interrupted by an infuriated Proctor saying, “You will speak nothing of Elizabeth!” (23).
This conversation leads to the accusation of Elizabeth being a witch by Abigail and in turn leads to the deep hatred that John holds for Abigail. These disputes being 3 of several conflicts demonstrate how emotions are displayed in this play.
Reverend Parris and Abigail, Abigail and Proctor, and Proctor and Parris express guilt, hatred, passion, resentment, hypocrisy and numerous other emotions, Miller uses conflicts aggressively and affectivity.