Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible is put in a terrible position during her questioning by the judges. She struggles with whether or not to tell a lie to save her husband. She is torn in this decision because she knows that her husband will be persecuted if the community finds out that he has had an affair with Abigail. However, she also knows that to lie goes against her morals and the church. It is a Catch-22 where Elizabeth finds herself in a no win situation. She loves her husband, John, and has forgiven him; however, her goodness and faith is in conflict with that love. When she is backed into a corner by the questioning of the judges, she lies about John's affair. It is then that John finally confesses to release Elizabeth's guilt about the lie. She is sent to jail anyway where she waits out an unfair sentence. Luckily, she is later released but has lost her husband due to the witch trials.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a Catch-22 is a difficult situation for which there is no easy or possible solution. The phrase comes from a military regulation found in the famous novel Catch 22 by Joseph Heller.