The main conflict between John Proctor and Abigail Williams, by the time the play begins, has to do with Abigail's obvious animosity toward Elizabeth Proctor, John's wife. In Act One, the pair does discuss their past relationship as well as Abigail's continued devotion to John, in addition to his admission that he may still have residual feelings for her as well. However, John doesn't get mad until Abigail begins to criticize his wife, saying, "Oh, I marvel how such a strong man may let such a sickly wife be—" before John cuts her off. Only at this point does he become "angered." However, Abigail continues, "She is blackening my name in the village! She is telling lies about me! She is a cold, sniveling woman, and you bend to her!" John threatens to whip her now.
John's continued feelings for Abigail create conflict between himself and Elizabeth in Act Two, when he hesitates to tell the magistrates what Abigail said to him about Betty's illness having nothing to do with witchcraft. The conflict between John and Abigail resurfaces when Abigail tries to frame Elizabeth for witchcraft (using her knowledge of the poppet Mary Warren made in court, as well as the needle stuck into the poppet's stomach).