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What is the major conflict in The Crucible?

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simabina | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 19, 2008 at 5:05 AM via web

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What is the major conflict in The Crucible?

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 19, 2008 at 10:06 AM (Answer #2)

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Conflict #1- Several girls, Betty, Ruth, Abigail, and others along with Tituba, the black house servant, go into the woods, the girls dance in the woods and are discovered. 

Conflict #2- Betty Parris is sick. Her illness is the result of being caught dancing in the woods. 

This is a serious conflict because Puritan children are not allowed to dance or engage in frivolity.

"When the girls are discovered in the woods, they know that they will be judged, and judged harshly."

Conflict #3- Reverend Parris is determined to prove that Betty's illness is not connected to witchcraft, so he calls in an expert from another town, Reverend Hale.

Conflict #4 - The Putnam's daughter, Ruth is also sick, from dancing in the woods, and helping to conjure the spirits of her dead siblings.

"The Putnams themselves set up a central conflict of the play, defining some of the suspicion, jealousy, and resentment simmering below the surface of this outwardly ordered and repressed society."

Conflict #5- John Proctor and Abigail Williams are at odds, she still loves him, he rejects her.

In my view, the Putnam family is at the center of the main conflict which is the girls dancing in the woods.  Mrs. Putnam would not accept the fact that 7 infants died on her at birth, she wanted an answer from the grave.  This sets in motion the action of the other conflicts.

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asorrell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted September 27, 2008 at 6:02 PM (Answer #3)

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I think the biggest and most important conflict in the entire play is truth versus lies.  The entire play rests on that idea and every problem in the play stems from that same thing.  The girls dance and lie about it.  They find themselves in trouble and make up lies about women in the town.  Abigail finds herself in a position of power and lies about Elizabeth. 

When people try to tell the truth they they are punished.  Mary Warren tries to tell the truth and Abigail and the other girls immediately turn on her.  When she lies and accuses John Proctor of witchcraft, she is again out of danger.  The characters who lie are safe.  The characters who tell the truth are killed. 

In the end John Proctor struggles with what to do.  He can lie and save his life or stick to the truth and die.  The entire play is based on this struggle for truth.

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