Elizabeth: Honesty and Lies in "The Crucible"Elizabeth, known as an honest woman, lies to protect John's honor. Discuss.

Expert Answers
bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Elizabeth is called to the courtroom to support or deny John's claim of his lechery, she lies for the first time in her life. Remember that lechery was a terrible sin in Puritan New England, and the charge would ruin any man. Elizabeth's imprisonment has softened her regarding John's affair with Abigail, and Elizabeth now only wants to save her husband's good name. She knows that her answer to the question is important for some reason, but she doesn't realize John has already confessed, so she must choose whether to lie  or tell the truth. I find it ironic that at the end of the play, John will have this same conflict regarding his name when he must choose to live or die. By trying to save her husband, Elizabeth sets in motion the events leading to John's choice to hang. She lies for him because she has forgiven him for the affair, and she realizes how much she loves him. Like most good people in a time of crisis, Elizabeth realizes what is important and puts everything in perspective.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hale even comes to her aide to say that any woman would have done the same when facing her love and loyalty to her husband and preserving the honor of his name in the face of the court and community.  She lies because she loves him and chooses not to ruin his good name...which he dies to protect.  She knows how much it means to him to be well-thought-of in the community.