Inevitable ConflictDiscuss how The Crucible would address the idea that while conflict is inevitable, what matters is how we deal with it.

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e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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To me, this question is relatable to parenting and teaching. Children and students are bound to make mistakes in behavior. This is a fact of life and a fact of parenting/teaching. As parents/teachers, we have to be prepared intellectually to instruct the child/student and shape future behavior. 

The mark of a good parent and a good teacher is not whether or not problems are avoided in the first place, but how those problems are dealt with constructively. 

The Crucible, featuring bad behavior from teenagers, presents an example that seems to directly relate to the precepts above.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This play is all about conflict and how it is dealt with by each of these characters.  Elizabeth does what she can to avoid conflict with her husband, but when she can take it no more and wants to save her marriage she boots Abigail from the house. Rev. Hale has a major conflict with himself and with the court. He only wants to be a man of God doing God's work; when he realizes he has unwittingly become part of something ungodly, he removes himself from the situation. While these characters handle their conflict differently, both of them maintain their principles despite having to take action to do so.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I agree with the first post and I would say that the play shows us many other ways of dealing with conflict.

For example, the character of Parris shows us someone who deals with conflict by trying to cover for himself.  Parris's only real concern when any conflict arises is to try to ensure that he comes out of it with his own prestige intact.  We all know people like that, I think.

I would also point out that John Proctor's major dilemma revolves around how to deal with conflict.  Will he give up his self-respect to avoid the conflict or will he embrace the conflict, even at the cost of his life?

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

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I think that the primary level of focus in this question would have lie in how Abigail deals with conflict and contrasting it with the approach of the Proctors.  For the most part, both Proctors deal with conflict differently than Abigail.  When addressing the conflict of being dismissed and thereby separated from John, the person whom she wants, Abigail's approach to conflict is to seek to bring others down, ensuring that her own superiority must come at the cost of another's feeling of inferiority.  The fact that Abigail invents the accusations in order to consolidate her own social power and develop a path to obtain what she wants is reflective of how she feels that her happiness can only come at the expense of another, turning their life into misery.  The Proctors approach conflict differently. John and Elizabeth from the earliest point of the play both endure fundamental challenges in their marriage and their shared lives together.  Yet, they recognize that if there is any possible way of resolving such a conflict, it will only come in the form of working through conflict on their own, without seeking to bring others into such a predicament.  There is little in both that desires the suffering of another, which is diametrically opposed to Abigail.  In the end, Miller presents all three characters as representing how the approach to dealing conflict is what makes people fundamentally different, defining both their humanity and their most cruel of actions.

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