In The Crucible, Act Two, how does John Proctor's behavior compare with his wife's?

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lkhernandez eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Act Two is the first instance in which we meet Elizabeth Proctor. We also get an intimate look into the Proctors' home life and their marriage dynamics. At this point we are aware that John Proctor has been unfaithful to his wife with Abigail, and we also assume that Elizabeth either suspect, or had knowledge of this.

We find out in Act Two that Elizabeth is, in fact, aware of her husband's infidelity with Abigail, but we do not see many traces of resentment or anger in Elizabeth. She is very calm when speaking with John, as well as attentive to detail in everything she does for him. She is easily distressed when she feels that she has failed as a wife and very eager to please her husband.

John, on the other hand, has a quick temper and appears very defensive in the scene with his wife. When she makes a reference to his infidelity, he immediately raises his voice and points out that he has been faithful the past seven months and doing everything he can for her. John's guilt causes his defensive behavior, while his short temper expects Elizabeth so basically forgive and forget quickly.