What are Elizabeth and John Proctor's motivations throughout The Crucible

Elizabeth is initially motivated to please John and repair her marriage in The Crucible. Later, Elizabeth is motivated to expose Abigail as a liar and protect John's reputation. At the end of the play, Elizabeth desires John to hold onto his goodness and find internal peace. Initially, John is motivated to earn Elizabeth's forgiveness, forget his past sins, and cut all ties with Abigail. He then becomes motivated to save Elizabeth's life, protect his name, and undermine the corrupt court.

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Both Elizabeth and John Proctor's motivations change throughout the play. Initially, Elizabeth seems motivated to please John and repair her marriage. Although Elizabeth struggles to forgive John, she is not overtly antagonistic towards him and attempts to exercise patience when he gets upset. She is afraid that John still has feelings for Abigail but does not fly into a fit of rage when she discovers that her husband was alone with her. Elizabeth seems more disappointed than anything but is reluctant to express her displeasure with John because she is primarily focused on repairing her marriage.

As the play progresses, Elizabeth is motivated to expose Abigail as a liar, prove her innocence, and protect John's reputation, which is why she denies being involved in witchcraft and lies about her husband's infidelity. By the end of the play, Elizabeth is selflessly concerned about her husband's soul and refuses to judge John regarding his decision to confess or die a martyr. Elizabeth wants John to forgive himself and find internal peace.

Initially, John is motivated to earn his wife's forgiveness and repair his marriage. He walks on eggshells around Elizabeth but struggles to contain his anger when she alludes to his unfaithfulness. Once Elizabeth is arrested, John becomes motivated to save his wife's life but also desires to protect his reputation. John only confesses to adultery when all hope seems to be lost and he is out of options. He desires to expose Abigail, putting an abrupt end to the witch trials. After John is arrested, he is motivated to save his life but also desires to protect his friends by refusing to sign a false confession. John is also motivated to defend his name and recognizes that dying a martyr will undermine Salem's court. At the end of the play, John makes the selfless and brave decision to die a martyr by tearing his confession.

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I disagree with the above post. I don't think Elizabeth was trying to make John feel guilty about his marital infidelity. She is clearly hoping to impress him with her cooking in Act II, as she says that she "took great care" with the rabbit stew; she also tells him that the "magistrate sits in [his] heart that judges [him]," and that she does not. And we know that she cannot lie. To me, Elizabeth seems to be motivated by the desire to get her relationship back on track -- though she struggles to trust her husband again -- and for the trials to end (and for Abigail Williams to be known for the liar that she is). It is she who prompts John to go to the court and tell them what Abigail told him -- that Betty's illness has nothing to do with witchcraft -- though he is reluctant.

John's motivation, on the other hand, changes throughout the play. Initially, he is concerned with not only getting his marriage back on track (as is his wife) but also with protecting his reputation. He doesn't want to have to share the news of his sin with the community, and so he is reticent to expose Abigail as a liar. He becomes angry when Elizabeth continues to insist that he should go to town and tell the court what Abigail told him. Later, however, in Act III, the motivation to save his wife trumps his concern for his own reputation, and he confesses his lechery in an attempt to prove Elizabeth's innocence and Abigail's treachery. In Act IV, John is motivated first by a desire to save his life and then, finally, by a desire to retain his integrity. He considers confessing a lie, and actually does it at first, because he wants to go on living and to be alive for his family.  However, he eventually comes to the realization that it is possible for him to retain integrity and, to do so, he must be willing to die for it.

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Elizabeth's motivation changes over the course of the play. At first, as a reaction to her jealousy for John being seduced by Abigail, Elizabeth's motivation is to make him feel terribly guilty for what he has done. But as the play proceeds and she is accused, her motivation is  just to get to be with him. In fact, against her Puritan faith, she lies in court about John's lechery, thinking that he would have lied. She lied to save his reputation. As the play just about closes her motivation becomes to see John feel free. He struggled with whether to sign a false confession or not. 

John's motivation remains fairly constant: to find falsehood and expose it. John Proctor is one of the most forward and blunt characters ever written. With his wife, as she tried to make him feel guilt, he made sure she understood her cold nature may have prompted his cheating. With the court, he sacrificed his own reputation to point out the falsehood of the accusations that Abigail was making. Furthermore, he used the truth of the Putnam's situation to prove why they may have encouraged the girls to pretend. By the end, he refuses to save his own life with a simple lie. He would die to demonstrate the truth. 

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