What is the relationship between John and Elizabeth like? How can you tell?
John and Elizabeth have a strained relationship. Elizabeth does not trust John since she learned of the affair John had with Abigail. Elizabeth is having trouble forgiving John. Their relationship is a cold one.
Elizabeth was very sick when John had an affair with Abigail. This affair hurt her so much. Now, Elizabeth holds unforgiveness in her heart. The two are not as close as they once were.
When John goes into town, he speaks with Abigail. He keeps this from his wife. There is still distrust between them. John cannot share his visit with Abigail with Elizabeth because she does not trust John. When the Reverend Hale comes to interrogate the Proctors, the visit John had with Abigail comes up. The fact that John had kept this a secret from Elizabeth proves that the couple has not regained the trust that a man and his wife should have.
When Elizabeth is accused of lying to the court of her pregnancy, John swears she would never lie. Even though they have a cold relationship, John still supports his wife, indicating that he has total trust in her:
For all the coldness and disappointment of the Proctor’s relationship, Elizabeth’s honesty is unquestioned by her husband. Elizabeth’s unfailing honesty is sharply contrasted with John’s original unwillingness to let the truth be known to the court.
It is not until John is about to be hung that Elizabeth shows any tenderness toward John. Up until then, she had remained cold and distrusting. When John is about to be hung, she gently forgives hims. She is tender with him, proving her forgiveness.