Puritanism, the need for teenage freedom and corruption – conflicts in Miller’s The Crucible

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

The Crucible–Conflicts In the Play

The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, is a story that contains many conflicts. These conflicts come about as a result of the strict Puritan society in which the story takes place. There are two main conflicts in the book, the first never actually takes place in the story, but is described many times throughout the first act and is the basis for the trials. This conflict (or struggle) is Abigail’s and all the other girls’ need to be free and act like teenagers. The second is the result of the corruption of the trials. This conflict is John Proctor’s fight to convince the townspeople that the accused women are not witches (especially his wife), and that it is Abigail who should be killed instead.

In Puritan society, the role of the child is to be quiet, and stay out of the way. When Abigail is being considered a witch in the first moments of the story, Rev. Paris is very worried about how this will effect his image, and not of the fate of Abigail. It is this society where Abigail feels the need to break loose and to act the way a teenager should: freely. This is the reason why she goes dancing in the forest. She is expressing her need to act her age and to break out of the restrictions of Puritan law. Her conflict, unfortunately, is to do what she wants in a society that believes in ordering her around.

It becomes obvious soon after the trials started that many people were going to be falsely accused by their neighbors as a method of revenge, and as an outlet for their maliciousness. When Abigail uses this case to attack Rebecca Nurse, one of the best Puritans in the Salem, John Proctor begins his efforts to stop the injustice. This increases when Elizabeth Proctor is tried and sentenced to death, this is John Proctor’s conflict. He must fight to save his wife, his community and eventually himself. In addition, he also has to convince the leaders of Salem that they are mistaken in believing in Abigail.

Although Abigail and Proctor are mortal enemies, their conflicts can be seen as almost identical. They both need to change the way the higherarchy of Salem is doing things. And also, both of them would just like to live normal lives (however, when Abigail realizes she cannot have this, she goes crazy by accusing everybody). This is shown when John Proctor breaks some of the harsher of the Puritan rule, and that he dislikes all of the speeches about damnation given by Rev. Paris. Unfortunately, Abigail’s conflict/struggle goes awry and results in many people dying, while the valiant efforts of John Proctor are unable to save Salem from one of the greatest tragedies in American history.


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