The Crucible Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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In Act 2, the Crucible, do you sympathise with Proctor or Elizabeth? In Act 2, the Crucible, do you sympathise with Proctor or Elizabeth?     

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This scene is nothing but awkward for everyone who reads or watches it.  both of them are unhappy, yet they do both love one another (as evidenced by their actions in court in the next act).  They neither one really know how to get past this giant stumbling block in their marriage.  She would like to trust him but still has doubts; he tries to please her but his guilty conscience registers condemnation even when there is none.  I sympathize with them both.

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Michael Foster eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Both Proctor and his wife Elizabeth can be viewed as sympathetic characters, caught up in the hysteria brought about by the accusations of vengeful people.

Proctor feels himself trapped in a loveless, unsatisfying marriage.  His choice of how he dealt with this dissatisfaction is now coming back to haunt him, since he chose the wrong person to turn to in Abigail.  He is the victim of Abigail's immaturity and hatefulness.  While he is desparately trying to save his marriage and his reputation, he is realizing at this point that it may all be about to slip through his fingers.

Probably the more obviously sympathetic character is Elizabeth.  The injured party in adultery, she feels herself inadequate to deal with the problems in her marriage and the conflicts that it is bringing about.  Loving though unloved, her opportunities as a 17th-century woman are severely limited, especially in such an isolated community.  She is the victim of the choices of another, someone whom she loves and at one time trusted.  She has other battles to fight, but she is being forced into fighting the one of false accusation. 

Both characters are examples of the tragedy of the saying, "You reap what you sow."  However, Elizabeth is reaping what her husband has sown, not she herself.  With limited choices, with limited support (from her husband especially at this point, though he comes through later), she stands bewildered in the swirling storm of events.

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rlendensky | Student

In truth, though he committed such a wrong, I must sympathize with John Proctor. Though he was the one who had an affair, he still truly loves and has devotion for Elizabeth, even though she seems not to reciprocate. It seems as though it should've been John who lost the passion of the relationship, his passion only grew exponentially, and Elizabeth seemed to lose the flame she once had in her relationship with John Proctor.

disney353 | Student

i would personally shoose Elizabeth. SHe as a mother to three children has to put up with Proctor and his actions. thus i would sympathise with his wife. It is she who blames herself for his actions, but then again if she hadn't been a cold wife, he wouldn't have done the act....well it's your choice really so you decide. i standby my choice on Elizabeth