"Why conflict happens is less important than how it affects people."Is this statement true or not and to what extent?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that the statement is true in terms of how the people in Salem response to what is thrust upon them.  Abigail's and the other girls' claims of witchcraft are essential.  Yet, I believe that part of the genius of Miller's work is what these accusations reveal about the majority of the townspeople.  For many, the accusations prove to be an opportunity to display silence and acquiescence, a blind obedience to authority, and a fear that severs bonds between community members.  Such a response proves Salem to be a fraudulent community, and one that only believes in self serving means of convenience.  This hypocrisy is brought out by the conflict, which ends up being secondary to what is shown.  In this same light, the conflict reveals some very extraordinary demonstrations of character.  When Giles Corey demands "more weight" as he is being crushed to death or when John Proctor becomes an emotional pillar of stability and strength, these are instances that reflect how the conflict of the accusations is secondary to the reactions and demonstrations of greatness that are shown as a result.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the statement is true if you are interested in people's psychological and moral development, but not if you are interested in history and in preventing mistakes from happening over and over.

In the context of this play, the cause of the conflict is less important than how it affects the people.  It makes Abigail Williams ruthless and amoral.  It eventually makes John Proctor look at himself very clearly and understand what he really values.  These are very important things to know about the individuals.

But if you wanted to know how to prevent witch hunts from happening again, you'd wnat to know why the conflict happened.

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The Crucible

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