What is the relationship of Elizabeth and John Proctor in the Crucible?

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jeffclark | College Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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What is the relationship of Elizabeth and John Proctor in "The Crucible?"

The simple answer to the question is that they were husband and wife. But, as with all of literature, the answers are never that simple. Their relationship is much more complicated than that.

John Proctor is a simple farmer living in the town of Salem, MA. In spite of being a married man, John gives in to the sexual advances of Abigail, a seventeen year old girl who worked for the proctors as a servant. Because his conscience bothers him over the adulterous relationship he confesses this to his wife. In spite of this confession she has a very difficult time forgiving him, yet he still resists the continuing advances of Abigail.

Abigail, being rejected, decides to get revenge by starting the accusations of witchcraft which would snowball into what we know historically as the Salem Witch Trials.

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