What does Mary Warren mean when she says, "I saved her life today!" in act two?  

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Jennings Williamson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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John Proctor has ordered Mary Warren, his family's hired help, to stay at the house today and not go onto Salem Village. She, however, has disobeyed him, telling Elizabeth Proctor that she is "an official of the court now," implying that she has an obligation to be there. Mary knows that those who are accused of witchcraft are always convicted, and those who are convicted of witchcraft are always put to death unless they confess. Proctor becomes angry at Mary for refusing to obey him, and he threatens her with whipping. In order to escape his wrath, Mary tells them that Elizabeth's name was "Somewhat mentioned" in the court, and she takes the credit for "sav[ing] her life." When asked about Elizabeth, Mary testified that she has "never see[n] [a] sign [Elizabeth] ever sent [her] spirit out to hurt" anyone. Since Mary lives with the Proctors and spends so much time with them, her testimony was believed and the subject of Elizabeth Proctor was dropped.

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In act two, Mary Warren arrives back...

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