How was Elizabeth treated in The Crucible?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is understood that Elizabeth suffers a fairly raw deal in the drama.  She has to see her husband, her child's father, punished for telling the truth, and her desire to protect help in lying for him actually does him more harm than good.  She has to also endure that the initial force of the accusations against her are motivated not by an innocent, doe eyed girl, but a vengeful young woman who covets her husband.  All of this would indicate harsh treatment.  However, Elizabeth undergoes a transformation that allows her to embrace the values of loyalty and companionship that transcends these contingencies.  While she pleads with John to sign the confession, Elizabeth is also made aware that there are critical moments that serve to define one's state of being in the world.  These moments cannot be dismissed, for in doing, one dismisses their chance to be better than they could have ever hoped to be.  When she understands her husband's decision and supports him to his very death, it is a moment where Elizabeth transcends the temporary and moves into a realm of permanence where real values are endorsed in a setting that embraces inauthenticity.  It is here where Elizabeth's treatment allows her to become something more than anyone else in the play could hope to be.

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