Conflict within the Proctor marraige Abigail and john's affair.Thanks

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think your asking for comments on the conflict between John and Elizabeth Proctor.  It stems from the fact that John and Abigail, the girl who was a live-in helpmate to Elizabeth, had an affair with John Proctor.  Abigail's hope was that John would leave Elizabeth and marry her, but this is a young girl's dream and would never be reality in this Puritan society.  Elizabeth blames herself for John's infidelity since she has self-esteem issues to begin with and never truly thought herself worthy of a handsome man like John.  Elizabeth considers herself plain,and she has been sick and weak whereas Abigail is pretty, young and healthy.  John's guilt for being weak and succumbing to the female beauty of the young Abigail is overwhelming.  He does love Elizabeth, and he is so connected to her and owes her for the home they have created and the children they have brought into the world.  The Puritan society's fault is that there is not built into the framework of their lifestyle an area for forgiveness.  Their religion and daily life which is entirely entangled in religion does not allow for ordinary people's mistakes.  Therefore guilt tears apart those people who make mistakes, and this makes it even more difficult for them to move on to a healthier mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual life.

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

John Proctor has admitted to having an affair with Abigail, leading to Abigail's dismissal from her position in the house and later leading to Abigail's accusation of witchcraft against Elizabeth.

The affair causes deep conflict between John and Elizabeth, though they are attempting to struggle through this conflict to heal their marriage.

Elizabeth harbors some doubts about whether or not the affair is truly over. She also blames herself, at least partly, for the affair, which complicates the conflict between husband and wife.