Give three reasons for Elizabeth’s suspicions concerning her husband in The Crucible.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the most basic reasons for Elizabeth's suspicions about John is because he had an affair with Abigail.  Miller does a wonderful job showing that no matter what happens afterwards, the replacing and re-fortification of trust after it has been broken is a real challenge to all relationships.  Elizabeth demonstrates this in the first scene of the second act.  Her suspicions are raised when Proctor says that he spoke to Abigail alone, something that he originally was not clear to her about earlier on in speaking to her regarding the conversation.  At the same time, when John demonstrates a resistance to share the contents of the conversation with the court, Elizabeth feels that his reluctance is because of Abigail.  Elizabeth demonstrates the belief that John still harbors feelings for Abigail as the relationship happened while she was bedridden.  When Hale quizzes John over his memorization of the Ten Commandments, John is able to identify nine of them perfectly well.  The one he forgets is "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery."  Elizabeth has to remind him of this, further increasing her doubts.  The final point that has to be made here is the basic idea that John and Elizabeth, at the start of their discussions about the affair with Abigail, hold fundamental viewpoints.  John feels that he will never be able to gain back the trust he lost and that he is constantly on trial for his transgressions.  Elizabeth believes that he has not listened to the "magistrate" that resides in his "heart."  To this end, this helps to increase the suspicions Elizabeth has about her husband.

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