In The Crucible how does Miller present Proctor's internal and external conflicts on stage?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Proctor's internal and external conflicts are presented on stage through a combination of verbal and non-verbal communication. The various external conflicts he has with other characters are easy to identify. He openly states his problems with characters such as Elizabeth and Parris, making reference to the problems that exist in his marriage with the former and mocking the latter for his insistence on having silver candlesticks in Act II. The immense internal conflict that Proctor endures in Act IV when he is tempted with signing his name away in order to gain his life is revealed in the following speech, which the stage directions indicate is uttered "with a cry of his whole soul":

Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!

Note how this speech, combined with the instructions Miller provides as to how this speech should be delivered, clearly indicates Proctor's internal conflict as he has to choose between death and keeping his name and life and losing his name. Of course, as this speech reveals, he would have no life if he lost his name, as he would not be able to live with himself. Proctor's internal and external conflict is therefore revealed through his dialogue and how he delivers that dialogue.


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