What are some external conflicts that Betty Parris deals with in The Crucible?

Asked on by medhare

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

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I think that one of the largest external conflicts that Betty endures in the drama is how to deal with the fact that her dancing in the woods breaks one of the social laws of Salem.  The most pressing element is that the girls did wrong.  Betty's conflict is that she, like the other girls, do not want to be punished for what they did and for how they acted against Salem's norms.  This is the reason why she, and the other girls, make accusations against others in order to deflect their own blame and guilt.  Another external conflict would involve her relationship with Abigail.  The leader of the group, Abigail is someone who exerts a great deal of pressure and influence over the group.  Due to this, Abigail is a force that exerts pressure on Betty.  While we never see Betty struggle against Abigail, like Mary Warren, it is evident that Abigail is a force where conflict is always present.  In these lights, the external conflict is present, something whereby Betty finds herself immersed.  Of the characters in the drama, Betty has to endure some of the least amount of conflict because she remains in the cloistered protection of the group, never having to endure much in way of risk.

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gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

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Throughout the play, Betty Parris is overcome with fear and hysteria to the point that she attempts to jump out of her window, then lays comatose on her bed while others pray around her. While one could argue that Betty's external conflict concerns the strict social atmosphere of Salem that prevents her from expressing herself and will punish the girls for their actions in the woods, I would consider Abigail Williams to be her main external conflict. In a private conversation, Abigail Williams is speaking with Marry Warren and Mercy Lewis when Betty mentions that Abigail drank the blood to curse John Proctor's wife. Abigail does not hesitate to slap Betty in the face and proceeds to threaten all of the girls. Betty is a timid, young girl who fears Abigail Williams. She does not want Abigail to harm her and remains comatose without telling the truth to the community of Salem. Betty also fears the repercussions of her actions. She does not want to be publicly shamed and disappoint her father. She has few options throughout the play and chooses to remain silent.  

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