In The Crucible, how is the Man vs. Society conflict beginning to build in Act 3, and why might Giles and John have a difficult time persuading the judges in a court like this?

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litlady33 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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The Man vs. Society conflict is beginning to build because, especially in Act 3, individuals are trying to convince the larger group (society) of the truth about the accusations. John Proctor and Giles Corey know that their wives are not witches, and they feel a responisibility to convince everyone else of this. At this point, things have a potential to become seriously tragic for some, but Proctor and Corey still believe they have the ability to keep people from dying.

It is difficult for them to convince the judges in court because of the judges' the longheld beliefs about witchcraft and how accusations should be handled. In that time, if someone was accused of being a witch, the person making the accusations was automatically believed because of the nature of the "crime." According to their beliefs, if a person was a witch, they would lie and do whatever "magic" or witchcarft they could do hide what they were doing. Therefore, there was no true way to tell if someone was or was not a witch, and the accuser's word had to be taken for truth.

You must understand, sir, that a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between. This is a sharp time, now, a precise time—we live no longer in the dusky afternoon when evil mixed itself with good and befuddled the world. Now, by God’s grace, the shining sun is up, and them that fear not light will surely praise it.

These words are spoken by Governor Danforth. For the people in charge of the court, there was no in-between. Therefore, Proctor and Corey are up against a very large obstacle when it comes to convincing these men of the truth.


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