John Proctor had an affair with Abigail in the play "The Crucible." His first effort to resolve his inner conflict was to tell his wife of his situation. He did not reveal the whole situation initially. There is the belief that if something is spoken aloud that one can be self-absolved from the act and gain a clear conscience, thereby healing within. Later in the story after Elizabeth has been charged John wants Elizabeth to expose his act instead of himself. As the story progresses and he sees that Elizabeth is in danger of further prosecution and the death brought to others, he goes to Abigail and tries to get her to tell the truth. However, he gets nowhere. He is still carrying the guilt and Elizabeth is still likely to be put to death (external conflict).
John at one point grabs Abigail and pulls her up calling her a whore. (Page 110). Danforth is shocked and asks him what he is doing. John then tells him the truth that he has known her as a man knows a harlot. It is at this time that Elizabeth arrives and she is asked by Danforth the reason for Abigail’s dismissal. Elizabeth is still protecting her husband and unaware he had told. She says she dismissed the girl because she was not pleased with her.
John still can not let go of what he had done nor free Elizabeth from the accusations. Mary Warren then accuses Proctor of coming to her after she is accused by Abigail of sending a demon bird towards her. The other girls are aware of the power Abigail holds and agree with her. John Proctor recognizes the damage of the situation and despite the attempts of Reverend Hale to defend him; Danforth continues to find him guilty. John is fed up with the whole mess and he yells out, "God is dead."(119)
Elizabeth is taken to John and she pleads with him to lie to save himself. John confesses lies and signs a paper reluctantly, but he snatches it up. John finally can stand the lies no longer and tells Danforth it is a lie. He has sealed his fate to be hanged, but he has cleared his soul before God.