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This episode in the play explores the chilly relations between John and Elizabeth Proctor following John's infidelity.
John Proctor was having an affair with Abigail when she worked for the family. Now things have been broken off, but Elizabeth still acts coldly toward John and does not trust him.
These ideas are expressed in this passage along with John's attempts to reconcile with Elizabeth. Furthermore, John is growing impatient. He has been penitent for as long as he can stand with little to no apparent softening or forgiveness from Elizabeth.
On a more plot-oriented level, the two discuss Mary Warren's participation at the court proceedings in Salem. Elizabeth attempts to convince John to expose Abigail and to stop the proceedings at the court. When he refuses, the two argue.
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