What indications are there that the Proctors (John Proctor & Elizabeth) are, in spite of their differences, a united and loving couple?in The Crucible

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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For the most part, the reader sees that the Proctors are working through their differences.  I think that a strong case can be made that there is much upon which to build in terms of their relationship in Scene 2.  The two of them are able to talk about the fact that the affair with Abigail still causes hurt to them.  Neither of them shy away from the fact that John strayed outside of marriage and the implications of this.  They demonstrated a great deal of courage in openly talking about how John feels that he is not trusted and how Elizabeth still feels hurt by the affair.  A case can be made that the only reason this discussion happens is because they still have feelings of devotion towards one another. If they lacked feelings of love and loyalty to one another, the discussion would simply be avoided by either or both.

The devotion and united nature of their relationship is demonstrated when the outside world begins to encroach upon their sense of home.  Reverend Hale's presence bring this out first in that both of them stand by one another (Even though John forgets the adultery commandment, something that Elizabeth brings out subtly and without repetitive venom.)  When Cheever comes to arrest Elizabeth, John's devotion to her in both telling her that he is going get her out of jail and his intense response to Herrick for using chains to take her away are both representative of how much they love one another.

Naturally, John's vigorous pursuit of her defense at the courthouse also represents a commitment to her. This is actually seen in a deleted scene from the production where John meets Abigail the night before she is to go in front of the court.  He tells Abigail both through words and forceful action that his wife will not be sacrificed. Although deleted, this scene is indicative of the loyalty he feels towards his wife, and although there are challenges between them, the courage it takes to confront Abigail privately is representative of the love he has for her.  When he stands in front of the court and calls out to Elizabeth that he has already confessed, there is a feeling that they are both united in their love for one another.  When the play ends with Elizabeth's protestation that "God forbid I take it away from him" in reference to his goodness, it is a moment where she recognizes how important his name is and for this, she will make the ultimate sacrifice of losing her husband in order to protect his name and reputation.  This love for both husband and his honor is mirrored by the love he demonstrates for his wife, despite his failures and shortcomings as a husband.

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