For "The Crucible", when Elizabeth and John argue over Abigail, describe the causes and effects of the conflict. What actions have resulted in this conflict? How do the individuals...

For "The Crucible", when Elizabeth and John argue over Abigail, describe the causes and effects of the conflict.

What actions have resulted in this conflict? How do the individuals involved in this exchange feel? Is there effective communication?

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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This scene is Act II, scene i of the play and it is the first time we meet Elizabeth Proctor.  As an audience, we already know about John's affair, but have not had a chance to see how his wife is reacting to it.  In this scene, it is apparent that the two have not yet resolved the tension that the affair created.  They are stiff and uncomfortable around each other.  The stage directions actually have them placed at a distance from each other, as if they are not comfortable enough to stand close together.  Elizabeth is trying to convince John to go to court and prove that Abigail is lying about witchcraft.  John reveals that he was alone with Abigail and she confessed the deception.

This is where things turn into an argument.  Elizabeth is angry that John has been alone with Abigail.  She obviously does not yet trust him.  John feels that he has suffered enough.  He knows what he did is wrong, but he insists to Elizabeth that he needed a passion that she wasn't giving him.  She is offended at his suggestion that it is her fault that he had an affair.  John tries to explain that he isn't blaming her, only trying to explain to her.

The communication between these two is counterproductive.  When John tries to explain, Elizabeth feels injured.  When she tries to explain, he feels trapped and defensive.  This lack of communication will carry them to the courtroom, with disastrous consequences.

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