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internal conflict

noun
1.
psychological struggle within the mind of a literary or dramatic character, the resolution of which creates the plot's suspense:
Hamlet's inaction is caused by internal conflict.
2.
mental struggle arising from opposing demands or impulses.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for internal conflict
  • Only when this internal conflict is resolved will there be true peace and security.
  • But the more likely source of violence now is an internal conflict in the south.
  • Here, whatever internal conflict the characters undergo is resolved before the action starts.
  • Clothing style is more than a metaphor for the mayor, who embodied the internal conflict of nature versus nurture.
Contemporary definitions for internal conflict
noun

in literature and drama, a struggle which takes place in the protagonist's mind and through which the character reaches a new understanding or dynamic change

Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
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