External Conflict in The Crucible

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About this sample


Words: 718 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Mar 14, 2024

Words: 718|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Mar 14, 2024

In Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible," external conflict plays a pivotal role in driving the narrative forward and shaping the characters' decisions. From the tense interactions between the townspeople of Salem to the overarching struggle between truth and deception, external conflict serves as a catalyst for the unfolding drama within the play. This essay will explore the various forms of external conflict present in "The Crucible," analyzing how they contribute to the overall themes of hysteria, fear, and power dynamics. By delving into the relationships between characters and the societal pressures they face, we will uncover the complexities of human nature and the consequences of external conflict on individual and collective behavior. Through a close examination of key scenes and character interactions, this essay will demonstrate how external conflict drives the plot and shapes the characters' moral dilemmas in "The Crucible."

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External conflict in "The Crucible" is evident from the very beginning, as the accusations of witchcraft tear apart the fabric of Salem society. The conflict between the girls, led by Abigail Williams, and the rest of the townspeople sets the stage for the mass hysteria that ensues. The fear of being accused drives many characters to make rash decisions and betray their neighbors in order to protect themselves. This external conflict not only drives the plot forward but also reveals the true nature of the characters involved. For example, Abigail's manipulation of the situation to her advantage highlights her cunning and deceitful nature, while John Proctor's resistance to the accusations demonstrates his integrity and moral strength. The tensions between the characters reflect the broader themes of power dynamics and the consequences of unchecked fear and paranoia.

Another significant form of external conflict in the play is the struggle between truth and deception. As the accusations of witchcraft escalate, the truth becomes increasingly muddied by lies and manipulation. The court proceedings, led by Deputy Governor Danforth, become a battleground where truth is twisted to serve the political agenda of those in power. The conflict between those who seek justice and those who seek to maintain their authority creates a tense atmosphere where the lines between right and wrong become blurred. This external conflict not only drives the characters to make difficult choices but also forces the audience to question the nature of truth and justice. The moral dilemmas faced by the characters, such as whether to confess to false accusations or maintain their innocence at the cost of their lives, highlight the complexities of human nature and the lengths to which people will go to protect themselves.

Furthermore, the external conflict in "The Crucible" extends beyond individual characters to encompass the entire community of Salem. The fear and paranoia that grip the town lead to a breakdown of social order and trust, as neighbors turn on each other in a desperate bid for survival. The power dynamics at play, with the court and religious authorities holding sway over the lives of the townspeople, create a pressure cooker of external conflict that ultimately results in tragedy. The consequences of this conflict are far-reaching, as innocent lives are destroyed and the fabric of the community is torn apart. The play serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked power and the destructive force of fear and suspicion.

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In conclusion, external conflict in "The Crucible" serves as a driving force that shapes the narrative, characters, and overarching themes of the play. The tensions between individuals, the struggle between truth and deception, and the breakdown of social order within the community of Salem all underscore the destructive power of fear, paranoia, and unchecked authority. Through a close examination of key scenes and character interactions, we have seen how external conflict forces the characters to confront their own moral dilemmas and make difficult choices that have far-reaching consequences. As we reflect on the impact of external conflict in "The Crucible," it becomes evident that the play serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of succumbing to fear and the importance of standing up for truth and justice. Moving forward, further research could delve into the psychological motivations behind the characters' actions and the societal implications of unchecked power dynamics. Ultimately, "The Crucible" remains a timeless exploration of human nature and the consequences of external conflict on both individual and collective behavior.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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External Conflict In The Crucible. (2024, March 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from
“External Conflict In The Crucible.” GradesFixer, 13 Mar. 2024,
External Conflict In The Crucible. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 23 Jun. 2024].
External Conflict In The Crucible [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 13 [cited 2024 Jun 23]. Available from:
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