Discuss the following quotation in relation to "The Crucible": "Conflict can make people act irrationally".scenario: giving a presentation to an anger management support group.

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Irrationality born of conflict can also be seen in Judge Danforth. By the first scene of Act IV, the situation in Salem has deteriorated, evidence suggests the accusations are groundless, Hale has quit the court only to return to save the innocent, rebellion has broken out in Andover, and some of Salem's most respected people are set to be executed. Rev. Hale and Rev. Parris both implore Judge Danforth to pardon those about to die or at least to postpone the hangings, but Danforth will not consider it. His logic is that postponing the hangings wouldn't be "fair" to those who had already died. That is irrational thinking. Closer to the truth, perhaps, is Danforth's real reason. He fears that postponing the hangings will make him look weak. Also, he cannot even consider that he has executed innocent people; therefore, in his view, if he continues the executions, he will not have to deal with that possibility. Again, irrational thinking. The killing continued, but the truth about the trials did come out--with an even higher body count.

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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If you were giving a speech to an anger management group, the play "The Crucible" would provide a great example of how and to some extent why conflict makes people act irrationally. You can see this in the general theme of the play, in which a community disintegrates into a bunch of people who suspect and accuse one another, almost without cause. You can also see it, however, more specifically in the actions of some of the characters. Abigail is in extreme conflict with the community's values and with the man she desires (perhaps loves); this leads her to make accusations that are irrational and hurtful.

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