In The Crucible, why was it so difficult for Proctor to admit that he and Abigail have been lovers?
This is a complex question in the play. I am not sure I entirely agree with it, but it is powerful because it strikes at the very essence of infidelity. I think that Proctor does acknowledge that he and Abigail were sexually involved at one point in time. I don't see him as having difficulty in accepting this. The basic question that is present in the play is how does one go about surviving infidelity in one's marriage. Typically, the issue is seen as almost a "one and done," situation where one hint of infidelity is grounds for separation. Where Miller is radical is in his idea that true marriage is not so reductive, and rather one where individuals have to work at trying to overcome the damage done to one's marriage when a genuine mistake has been made. Proctor is painfully aware of what he has done to his marriage. He understands the pain he has caused to Abigail and grasps that this is something for which he bears responsibility. It is not that it is difficult for him to accept this, but rather difficult for him, and her for that matter, to try to piece together what happened and how to overcome it in their marriage. This is why the dynamic between husband and wife in the start of the drama is so stifled, due to the acknowledgement of wrong and the desire to move past it with a deeper understanding of it.