Proctor and Elizabeth’s relationship is clearly strained. The uncomfortable small talk between husband and wife highlights how both are conflicted towards one another. Proctor’s guilty conscience drives him to behave carefully around Elizabeth. He attempts to please her by commenting on her good cooking skills. He also refrains from ‘full condemnation’ [pg 53] of her when he learns that Mary Warren has yet again returned to Salem under her watch. Meanwhile, Elizbaeth has developed a sense of coldness towards her husband. When he kisses her, she merely ‘receives it’, [pg 52] unable to demonstrate any affection. Her suspicions of Proctor still longing for Abigail appear to be omnipresent since she has reached the point where ‘she… has lost all faith in him.’ [pg 54] In what would normally be a minor mistake, a lengthy feud is sparked between the two when Proctor mentions that he and Abigail were in a room alone, and not with a crowd as stated earlier. Through their retorts to one another, it is clear that an argument is the only avenue through which they are able to express their true emotions and thoughts. Although both endeavour to amend their relationship, their suffering prevents them from sealing their gulf of separation.
Conflict can often change a person’s perspective; such is the case with Hale. His entrance depicts a ‘deferent’ [pg 61] man, which is starkly different from the proud and pompous man first introduced to the play. Although regarded as a specialist in the field of uncovering the supernatural, Hale had never encountered a witch prior to his visit to Salem. In the prose describing Hale, it is mentioned that his closest experience to a witch was a woman that appeared to be casting spells upon a young child. Nevertheless, the witch turned out to be a ‘mere pest’ [pg 37] with no supernatural powers. His assurance when meeting with Parris that ‘we cannot look to superstition in this. The Devil is precise’ [pg 41] is a factor that drives the town to paranoia. However, his first real exposure to the insanity formed amongst the puritans when attempting to find witches causes him to change his demeanour since things are not as ‘precise’ as he believed his job to be. The action of the courts conflicts with his moral judgment, as multiple respectable women are being charged with possessing occult powers. This has widened his perspective, as seen when he visits the Proctor’s home on his behalf and not the court, in order to gain an understanding of the Proctors. Over the past eight weeks, his exposure to mayhem has ultimately altered his perspective.
In such a tightly-knitted community, where nowadays, their town which would barely be considered a village, everybody minded ‘other people’s business.’ [pg 14] Yet due to their conservative nature, people acted politely and respectfully towards one another. This lead to years of growing jealously and personal grudges buried and kept quiet amongst the people in Salem. Therefore, when the supernatural conflict spread throughout town, people’s resentment for others also surfaced since the people were looking for someone to blame. People began to accuse those they despised so that they would achieve personal revenge. Walcott’s charge against Martha Corey is evidently powered with malevolence. Due to his inability to obtain his money back when a pig, which he bought from Martha, had died, his obtains vengeance by declaring that she used her supernatural powers to kill the pig. Rebecca Nurse’s incarceration also highlights the absurdity the Putnam’s claims since she is ‘the very brick and mortar of the church.’ Many of the people in Salem use to assert their own personal attacks upon others. This fuels the hysteria in Salem even further, and only the people of Salem can be blamed.