Describe the character of Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible.

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Elizabeth Proctor is depicted as a morally upright woman, who is somewhat dull and callous, particularly towards the beginning of the play. When the audience is introduced to Elizabeth Proctor in Act Two, she is presented as a cold, suspicious wife who has not forgiven her husband for having an affair with Abigail Williams.

Despite being ill and unforgiving, Elizabeth is depicted as an insightful Christian woman. She immediately suspects that Abigail will accuse her next and encourages her husband to travel to Salem. Elizabeth realizes the consequences attached to allowing Abigail and the others to falsely accuse citizens and urges her husband to reveal the truth. After Ezekiel Cheever arrives with a warrant for Elizabeth's arrest, she demonstrates her bravery and composure by calmly submitting to the authorities.

In Act Three, Elizabeth's loyalty and sympathy are portrayed when she attempts to save her husband's reputation by lying about his affair. Unfortunately, Elizabeth does not realize that her lie will doom John.

In Act Four, Elizabeth's transformation from callous, suspicious wife to loyal, compassionate, and understanding partner is complete. When she visits John in prison to convince him to confess in order to save his life, John asks Elizabeth what she wants him to do. Elizabeth illustrates her support for John by telling him, "I cannot judge you, John" (Miller, 136). Elizabeth then takes responsibility for her actions by telling her husband,

"John, I counted myself so plain, so poorly made, no honest love could come to me! Suspicion kissed you when I did; I never knew how I should say my love. It were a cold house I kept!" (137)

Elizabeth's confession of her own sins as well as her unquestionable...

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