Explain the ways Miller dramatizes the conflict between Proctor and Elizabeth in The Crucible.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the dramatization of the conflict between Elizabeth and Proctor is rooted in the fundamental challenges faced between husband and wife.  In Act II, this is seen in the basic lack of trust between both Elizabeth and Proctor. Miller dramatizes this in the intense arguments and undercurrent of mistrust that exists between both husband and wife.  It is the basis of their cold conversation, and helps to elevate the intensity level between them when they start to argue about Proctor's role in telling the authorities about Abigail's statement to him.  Miller dramatizes this in dialogue form, ensuring that the back and forth between them is reflective of a deeper hurt, something more profound that is evident.  In the trial when Abigail lies for her husband, Miller's keen sense of the drama of the personal is why her lie and his reaction in court is so powerful.  It is more than a husband and wife asserting their own strength.  It is more about how each deals with a wound or hurt that lies under the surface.  For this reason the drama of the ending acquires even more significance as Proctor's demand for his "name" is a moment where this hurt goes away for both of them.

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