Miller uses repetition in order to emphasise why Proctor should go to Salem. Proctor exclaims, “I say I will think on it!” in order to emphasise his growing anger with Elizabeth, and then Elizabeth declares “…let you think on it (she stands and starts to walk out of the room)”. Parallel phrasing is used here to emphasise how important it is to go to Salem. Here Elizabeth seems to have more authority by repeating Proctor and dismissing him and walking away. This suggests that the relationship is intense, as Miller uses these sentence types to show the change in feeling of Proctor and show developed conflict between them.
Miller uses linguistic devices in order to show the developed conflict between Proctor and Elizabeth. It is interesting how Proctor does not lose his temper when he declares, “Woman (she turns to him) I’ll not have your suspicion any more”. The use of “Woman” not only grabs Elizabeth’s attention through the stage directions, but also uses this negative, harsh word to put her down. This is so that Proctor can feel more dominant and have a higher status to Elizabeth by using the imperative meaning of his language to be assertive. This clearly shows conflict as although he is not raising his voice, he uses this as a way of asserting his status.
Miller contrasts Proctor’s language by using the idiomatic exclamation, “Spare me! You forget nothin’ and forgive nothin’.” This parallel phrasing shows the clear conflict between the two characters as Elizabeth still does not trust Proctor, of which he does not understand, even though he lied about being alone with Abigail. This clearly shows the damaged marriage. Proctor uses short sentences and interrupts Elizabeth in order to get his opinions in and express his feelings. He goes on to say that, “an everlasting funeral marches round your heart.” This emotive metaphor helps express how Proctor feels, as he doesn’t know if Elizabeth has forgiven him or not. He uses powerful language in order to show his frustration and hurt by using “heart.” This can also show his love for Elizabeth, but clearly shows the effect of the marriage on both Proctor and Elizabeth. His powerful language can also show his paranoid character as when he says, “No more! I should have roared you down when you first told me your suspicion.” This hyperbole and imagery show the strength of his feelings. However it is interesting here as you could say this exaggeration may have been influenced by Abigail, as she uses hyperboles and language against Elizabeth, but this imagery is a complete contrast to Elizabeth’s character, however Miller uses this for dramatic effect and creates this conflict between the characters.
The conflict is developed through many events and ideas in the play. The conflict shows that there are more accusations in the court and hat more people will be imprisoned. After the conflict takes place, when Mary Warren turns up, Proctor throws his anger at her, which doesn’t make the situation any better. It is clear that Abigail and Elizabeth resent each other, so it was inevitable that Proctor and Elizabeth would have conflict now, but later on in the play, Abigail uses this against her when she is accused. We understand that in Act One Abigail and Proctor meet, so when this arises in the conflict, there is dramatic irony as Proctor lies to Elizabeth which the audience knows about.
The purpose of this particular passage is to give an insight to Elizabeth and Proctor’s characters and relationship, as the whole Act is based around these two characters. We can see that public events of the court are affecting Proctor and Elizabeth’s relationship; which triggers tensions in their marriage. This conflict can also look at Proctor’s reputation, as it is clear later on Proctor must defy the court and that his adultery may cause consequences in the marriage and town later on in the play.