What has Elizabeth come to understand in the three months of her imprisonment in The Crucible?

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rshaffer eNotes educator| Certified Educator

     During her three months in prison, Elizabeth realizes many things about herself and about her husband John.  Prior to being imprisoned, there was much tension between Elizabeth and John (Act II). John's affair with Abigail created a feeling of distrust within in their marriage.  In addition, John comments to Elizabeth that he will not be judged by her.  He also says that he should never have admitted to the affair when she first told him of her suspicions because she is acting like a saint and looks upon him with cold judgement. 

    During the three months, Elizabeth has time to search her heart, and when John is brought out to meet Elizabeth before his hanging, she discloses to him that she blames herself for him turning to Abigail.  Elizabeth tells him:

John, 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 was a cold house I kept!

This quote speaks to the fact that Elizabeth thought so little of herself that she did not fulfill her wifely duties to her husband.  As a result John was tempted by another woman.  In addition, Elizabeth tells John,

...let none judge be your judge.  There be no higher judge under Heaven than Proctor is!

This precedes her last realization about John as he is taken away for his hanging.  Elizabeth says,

He have his goodness now.  God forbid I take it from him!

This statement proves that Elizabeth realizes that John is a good man and that he has forgiven himself.