What was Elizabeth's reaction to John Proctor's decision?  

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the end of Act Four, John Proctor is deciding between confessing a lie to save his life and refusing to lie but losing his life as a result.  He believes that he's already ruined his soul by cheating on his wife, and so he thinks that it would be wrong for him to go to his death, acting "like a saint," as though he had a soul worth saving.  Eventually John decides to confess the lie that he is a witch so that he can keep his life.  Elizabeth cries "in terror [...]: I cannot judge you, John, I cannot!"  She feels that she cannot judge John for his decision, though she would not likely make the same decision herself (as he's already pointed out); however, the fact that she weeps "in terror" makes it seem as though she is frightened by his choice. 

Elizabeth does not speak again until the very end, after John has torn up his confession and refused to lie; this means that he will die.  When Mr. Hale encourages Elizabeth to plead with John and make him confess to save his life, she says, "He have his goodness now.  God forbid I take it from him!"  She means that he finally sees himself as a good man, and so she will not do anything to take that sense of his own goodness away from him.  This makes it seem as though she believes his decision to die with integrity is the right one.

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The Crucible

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