Summarize the conflict John Proctor faces in Act IV of The Crucible. How does he resolve this conflict?

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Proctor's conflict involves man vs. self.  He must decide what is more important - his reputation or his life.  Danforth wants him to confess to witchcraft in order to be released from prison.  Proctor is willing to this.  However, when it is explained to him that he must sign a confession, Proctor hesitates.  To do so would be to suggest to the townspeople and others that he really was involved.  To confess verbally to people who know he is lying is one thing; to willingly ruin his reputation in the whole community is another.  Proctor can not do this, particularly when he sees that his confession will be used to convince others to untruthfully confess as well.  Honesty and integrity have become too important.  He tears up the confession and goes willingly to the gallows.

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will-dogg | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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Proctor realises that it is not worth it to lie and Arthur Miller emphasises that it is better to forfeit one's life for principles than to avoid conflict by agreeing to what is a lie. There is also interpersonal conflict between Proctor and Danforth due to Proctor's spite he'd rather allow the persecutors feel the weight of guilt for hanging an innocent man. Proctor's desire to preserve his good name by tearing the confession gives him the courage to die heroically and his goodness and honesty lost during his affair with Abigail are regained. Throughout the text we see Proctor grow as an individual thinker who does not hesitate to question the uniform theocratical society of Salem.