1 Answer | Add Yours
The opening of Act II reveals an external man vs. man conflict between John and Elizabeth Proctor. Readers see it subtley with the stage directions:
It is as though she would speak but cannot. Instead, now, she takes up his plate and glass and fork and goes with them to the basin. Her back is turned toward him. He turns to her and watches her. A sense of their separation rises.
Their apparent and obvious reason for conflict is eventually revealed in a discussion about the fact that John saw Abigail today and it makes Elizabeth judge John:
PROCTOR: You will not judge me more, Elizabeth. I have good reason to think before I charge fraud on Abigail, and I will think on it. Let you look to your own improvement before you go to judge your husband anymore. I have forgot Abigail -
ELIZABETH: and I.
PROCTOR: Spare me. You forget nothin' and forgive nothin'. Learn charity, woman.
Later, another external man vs. man conflict occurs between Proctor and Mary Warren. Mary went to court today and Proctor is concerned about the growing accusations that she is participating in. In an effort to control the situation Proctor gets ready to whip her and Mary Warren says:
I'll not stand whipping any more!
Moments later, Mary Warren reveals an external conflict that Elizabeth may go through that would be a man vs. society type of conflict. Elizabeth was accused in court, but Mary Warren tried to protect her:
MARY WARREN: I saved her life today!
ELIZABETH: I am accused?
Mary WARREN: Somewhat mentioned. But I said I never see no sign you ever sent your spirit out to hurt no one, and seeing I do live so closely with you, they dismissed it.
The story does not end with dismissal. Elizabeth goes on to experience an internal conflict of doubt in the next few pages curious about how Abigail may be making this happen. Elizabeth lets her mind wander as far as even believing she might be hung.
We’ve answered 317,410 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question