In act four, Salem's authority figures allow Elizabeth Proctor to visit her husband in prison with the hope that she will convince John to confess to witchcraft, which would save his life and prevent the community from rebelling against the court. When John asks his wife if anyone has confessed, she responds by saying that many have offered confessions in order to avoid death. John then asks if Rebecca Nurse has confessed, and Elizabeth responds by saying,
Not Rebecca. She is one foot in Heaven now; naught may hurt her more (Miller, 134).
It could be argued that Elizabeth's comment is a play on the idiom "one foot in the grave," which typically has a negative connotation and means that a person is close to dying. Given the fact that Rebecca Nurse is such a righteous, morally upright woman, her death will be viewed as a reward. Elizabeth's comment also has a positive connotation because it implies that Rebecca will spend eternity in heaven. Elizabeth's play on the idiom "one foot in the grave" also reveals her respect and admiration for Rebecca Nurse. At the end of the play, Rebecca becomes a martyr for refusing to confess: she dies at the gallows with her faith, integrity, and honor intact.