The central conflict in "Harrison Bergeron " exists between Harrison and his society. His society has attempted to make everyone equal by making everyone exactly the same. In order to accomplish this, they have forced handicaps on those who are smarter, faster, or more beautiful than the general population....
The central conflict in "Harrison Bergeron" exists between Harrison and his society. His society has attempted to make everyone equal by making everyone exactly the same. In order to accomplish this, they have forced handicaps on those who are smarter, faster, or more beautiful than the general population. Harrison's father, for instance, must be fairly intelligent; every time he has a thought which the government finds too intuitive, he receives buzzing sounds and other distractions which force him to cease considering such ideas.
Harrison, a naturally strong man, has already been arrested for "plotting to overthrow the government." As his photo is flashed on his parents' television screen, he is described as both a "genius and an athlete." He is forced to endure more handicaps than anyone else in his society, and the result looks like a Halloween costume.
Harrison certainly understands the costs of appearing on a television set, live before the populace, and ripping his handicaps from his body. Yet this is his destiny; he wants to finally "become what [he] can become."
The self-proclaimed Emperor enjoys a brief moment of glory, free from all of the burdens that his society has placed upon him, before he is shot by Diana Moon Glampers. This resolves the conflict and completes the goals of the story. Harrison cannot exist in this society without fully conforming to its ideals and restrictions, and he is unwilling to continue to sacrifice his ability to become his complete and true self.
Thus, the ending of the conflict is central to Vonnegut's message, which presents a clear distinction between desiring equality for a populace and trying to make everyone the same in order to achieve that goal.