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In Act I, Scene 2, the entire exchange between John Proctor and Abigail speaks volumes about their affair. It becomes clear that John’s wife, Elizabeth, found out about the affair and dismissed Abigail from working at their house. Abigail claims that Elizabeth is spreading lies about her. In this scene, Abigail also tells John the truth. They were merely dancing in the woods and there was no witchcraft. Betty “took a fright” because Abigail’s uncle caught them dancing in the woods at night. While this is not deemed as evil as witchcraft, it is clear that it is severely frowned upon. There is a lot of “tongue in cheek” dialogue here. All that means is that John and Abigail are subtly referring to their affair. By the end of their exchange, it is also clear that John wants to move past it but Abigail wants to pursue the relationship: in spite of the sin of it or the scorn of the community.
One quote that addresses this directly also indicates that Abigail has learned of the hypocrisy (pretense) of the town from John. Abigail reasons that if many of the community are hypocritical, then their sin of adultery is as justifiable since it is in the name of love. Abigail says:
I look for John Proctor that took me from my sleep and put knowledge in my heart! I never knew what pretense Salem was, I never knew the lying lessons I was taught by all these Christian women and their covenanted men! And now you bid me tear the light out of my eyes? I will not, I cannot! You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!
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