Inner Conflicts in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Inner Conflicts in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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The Crucible – Inner Conflicts


Fear, resulting in chaos, and overturned lives affected the personal decisions of John Proctor, thus creating inner conflicts, as well as desperation in the story. In Arthur Miller's The Crucible, John Proctor's stand in a society where opinion drove fate created ignominy towards him and his beliefs. At first he hid his horrible sin inside, fearing the consequences. When he finally did, he was placed in a tangled labyrinth of feelings as to what his next action should be. Lastly, it's Proctor's defiance and integrity in his own self that proved him stronger than the entire community of Salem. Proctor's tremulous feelings and general unease of the situation built up to his defining point of confession. Theocracy came together to take coerce control Salem and it's actions. Proctor saw this and feared, for diabolism was a practice unheard of. Danforth states, "You must understand, sir, a person is either with the church or against it, there be no road between. We live no longer in the dusky afternoon and evil mixed itself with good and befuddled world. Now by God's grace the good folk and evil entirely separate"(63).


John contemplated his actions and reached an influential decision towards what his fate would be after all, he believed, he could control it. As he stated defiantly, "I want my life... I will have my life" (78). After john confessed, he believed he had done Elizabeth and the children good, for they were wellspring of his life. He would be free, and accepted by Salem still. The powerful effect of his trial and disagreement and its conflicting with Salem's way of life had already left a silent, yet profound mark on the community.

Knowing that imperfection lurked among the good folk, the government wished to announce to the world who the sinning man was. Proctor was paradox to this- he neither wished, nor believed anything of the sort, as his name was the only thing left of him. The church and the government robbed him of everything else that could make him a man- his honor, his morals, his shame. Towards the very end of his tribulation, he states, "I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor.

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Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it form such dogs... show honor now, show a stony heart and sink them with it!"(64). Horrified, he could not accept any more torture to himself. He thought he was free, nothing more to give. Yet, for Proctor, it was too much. A line had to be drawn somewhere. That line was the good name of John Proctor- and little did he know, his opinion would drive his after out of Salem and into the horrors of death. In the play, Miller displays how easily people can be fooled by the innocence of youth. He also exposes the gullibility of common people, even people such as Danforth and Hathorne, who play the role of the "wise" judges. A single girl, Abigail Williams, causes the downfall of the whole society. Abigail scares that younger part of the society into submission. The people who must decide the fate of the rest of the community, see only her innocence and truthfulness. John Proctor has committed adultery and has absolutely no intentions of joining the turmoil in the community unless his pregnant wife was to also get involved. Because Proctor is a good and noble man, he believes at first he can't be hung and die a martyr when he has this sin blooming over him at every waking moment. John later says to Elizabeth, "My honesty is broke Elizabeth; I am no good man. Nothings spoiled by giving them this lie that were not rotten long before"(136) and rather confess than die for something he didn't do. However, as John confesses, he cannot allow Danforth to make it officially documented. As Danforth asks, John answers with a cry, " Because it is my life...How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name"(143). John feels strongly about having a good name and not dying with a bad on. Proctor sighs both sides of his internal conflict and realizes that he cannot afford to make yet, another mistake. He therefore, prescribes himself to death, not for his own sake, but rather for the sake of all the others. As John dies, Elizabeth weeps saying, " He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it away"(145). Furthermore Miller creates a picture for the reader of what life was really like, based on the inner turmoil and grief of a single man.

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