In "The Crucible" what "confession" did Elizabeth make to John while he was in jail?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Elizabeth and John are allowed one more chance to speak to each other before John is taken to be hanged.  The judges allowed this in the hopes that Elizabeth would convince John to confess to witchcraft to save his life; the townspeople were starting to turn on the courts for all of the deaths, and they hoped John confessing and not dying would convince others to do the same.

So, John and Elizabeth speak one last time.  In their very touching conversation, John begs Elizabeth's forgiveness for his adultery.  He has been tormented with guilt, and left to sit in jail and ponder his life for months now.  As he asks her for forgiveness, Elizabeth confesses her own part in the situation.  She confesses,

"I have sins of my own to count.  It needs a could wife to prompt lechery...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."

In this heart-rending "confession," Elizabeth admits that she was not a very loving wife.  She was cold to him, suspicious, and never spoke of her love for him.  She did this because she had low self-esteem, and considered herself ugly and unlovable.  So, she didn't even try.  This admission sheds some light on their marriage, and also on her potential role in John's affair.  They end up both forgiving each other, and for the first time in a long, long time, feel close and reconciled; unfortunately, it is just as John goes to die.  I hope that helped a bit; good luck!

Read the study guide:
The Crucible

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