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How does the relationship between John and Elizabeth help us understand the themes in...

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a999 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 19, 2008 at 3:51 PM via web

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How does the relationship between John and Elizabeth help us understand the themes in the play, "The Crucible"?

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renelane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted April 19, 2008 at 11:06 PM (Answer #1)

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John and Elizabeth Proctor show clear examples of the theme of morals and morality throughout the play. John's adultery leads to much of the events that take place in the play. While he feels remorse at having betrayed his wife and his integrity, Elizabeth struggles with forgiveness and dignity. Abigail is the only one not struggling with guilt, she is more intent on ruining the marriage so that she can get John back. Abigail does not care who gets hurt in her desire to attain her goal, and lives will be lost. John and Elizabeth are quietly trying to piece together their marriage, but Abigail shows no shame in stopping them.

John and Elizabeth ultimately stand by their own moral code to the very end. While it would spare his life, Proctor refuses to do the easy thing and confess. But he knows it is more important to regain his integrity and refuses to participate in the madness anymore. Elizabeth will lose her husband, but knows what he is doing is sparing his soul, and for her, that is the most important thing. Others will show weakness of character and fear for their lives, but they will stand firm in their beliefs.

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