The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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Describe 3 conflicts in Act I of The Crucible.  

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There is also some conflict between Reverend Parris and the Putnams. Mrs. Putnam sent her daughter, Ruth, to Tituba to conjure the spirits of Ruth's dead brothers and sisters. She wishes to know why her children "were murdered." Parris reminds them that it is a "formidable sin to conjure up the dead." He is horrified by the danger she may have unleashed in attempting to do so. Mr. Putnam, however, defends his wife, saying, "There is a murdering witch among us, bound to keep herself in the dark. Let your enemies make of it what they will, you cannot blink it more." He wants Parris to publicly admit that there is a witch in their midst, as he and his wife believe it is the only explanation for their children's deaths. Parris, however, is afraid that such a declaration would reflect poorly on him.

There is also conflict between Mary Warren and Abigail and Mercy. Mercy suspects that Mary is going to tattle on them for the things they did in the woods. Mary tries to encourage Abigail and Mercy to confess to dancing, as they'll "only be whipped" for it. Abigail implies that Mary would also be whipped, but Mary swears, "I never done none of it, Abby. I only looked!" And Mercy seems to threaten Mary, "moving menacingly toward [her]." This conflict will continue on into future acts as it grows even more tense between Mary Warren, who wishes to tell the truth, and the other girls, who continue telling lies.

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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1.  Parris has numerous conflicts with others and his own sense of ego.  For example, he is upset that he doesn't get more money for a salary, and he fights with Proctor about that one.  Then, he complains that he has to pay for his firewood.  Then, he complains that no one appreciates him or his degree from Harvard.  Then, he is upset when Proctor tells him that his sermons are too intense, and that they frighten small children.  So, he has conflict with his sense of wounded pride in the community, and with the townsfollk over the subject matter of his sermons.

2.  Thomas Putnam gets into arguments with John Proctor and Giles Corey over land boundaries.  John and Giles are leaving to go gather firewood, and Thomas challenges their land boundaries, insinuating that John has unfairly used his land for firewood in the past.  Giles mentions that Thomas has a reputation for taking land that isn't nailed down and confirmed as being owned by someone else, and they argue over that for a few minutes.

3.  There is a lot of conflict revolving around Abigail. First, she fights with her uncle about the dancing in the forest and about why she was fired from her previous job.  Then she fights with John about her being in love with him still and not willing to abandon his wife for her.  Then, she fights with the other girls, who are terrified and want to confess to making spells.  So, she brings a lot of conflict with her.

I hope that those thoughts help to get you started; good luck!

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