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The Crucible - Arthur Miller

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Leoni Schwenker

on 26 June 2014

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Transcript of The Crucible - Arthur Miller

> John's wife, who has borne
him three sons

> Abigail Williams describes
her as cold and unapproachable

Character
Quotes
Character
Her bitterness allows her to see through Abigail's attempt by means of public defamation of her character - claiming that Elizabeth is a witch - to get Elizabeth sent to the gallows. Nevertheless, Elizabeth is once again pregnant, and due to this, is granted a reprieve. In an attempt to save her husband, she lies to the court: she claims John did not commit adultery. Since she cannot know that John had confessed before hand, she ends up stabbing him in the back with her lie.

In the concluding scenes, she respects his decision based on his ideals regarding the truth to let himself be hanged.
Elizabeth Proctor

The Crucible - Arthur Miller
Leoni Schwenker
Later, it is revealed that, as a result of John's adultery, which she is aware of, Elizabeth has become uncertain about her love for John: she cannot find the right means of expression with regard to John.
Act II, ll. 79-101
Act II, ll. 137 - 161
PROCTOR:
You will not judge me more, Elizabeth. I have good reason to think before I charge fraud on Abigail, and I will think on it. Let you look to your own improvement before you go to judge your husband any more. I have forgot Abigail, and -
ELIZABETH:
And I.
PROCTOR:
Spare me! You forget nothin' and forgive nothin'. Learn charity, woman. I have gone tiptoe in this house all seven month since she is gone. I have not moved from there to there without I think to please you, and still an everlasting funeral marches round your heart. I cannot speak but I am doubted, every moment judged for lies, as though I come into a court when I come into this house!
ELIZABETH:
John, you are not open with me. You saw her with a crowd, you said. Now you -
PROCTOR:
I'll plead my honesty no more, Elizabeth.
ELIZABETH:
John, I am only -
PROCTOR:
No more! I should have roared you down when first you told me your suspicion. But I wilted, and, like a Christian, I confessed. Confessed! Some dream I had must have mistaken you for God that day. But you're not, you're not, and let you remember it! Let you look sometimes for the goodness in me, and judge me not.
ELIZABETH:
I do not judge you. The magistrate sits in your heart that judges you. I never thought you but a good man, John.. Only somewhat bewildered.
PROCTOR:
Oh, Elizabeth, your justice would freeze beer!


-> Elizabeth is a good and just woman, but forgiveness is a difficult under any circumstances - and as a result, her husband feels judged every day of their marriage. The situation is a difficult one. It's impossible of Elizabeth to know whether her husband was dishonest because he still desires Abigail or if is simply too scared of Elizabeth's suspicions to be honest. They both leap to assume the worst about the other person.

Act II, ll. 319 - 324
ELIZABETH:
It is her dearest hope, I know it. There be a thousand names; why does she call mine? There be a certain danger in calling such name - I am no Goody Good that sleeps in ditches, nor Osbourne, drunk and half-witted. She'd dare not call out such a farmer's wife but there be monstrous profit in it. She thinks to take my place John.
-> Elizabeth points out that Abigail's behavior, and her sudden accusation of Elizabeth, is
motivated by jealousy and the possible benefit she might gain if Elizabeth dies. Proctor has a hard time coming around to see the truth of this point.
ELIZABETH:
It is a mouse no more. I forbid her go, and she raises up her chin like the daughter of a prince and lays to me, "I must go to Salem, Goody Proctor; I am an official of the court!"
PROCTOR:
Court! What court?
ELIZABETH:
Aye, it's a proper court they have now. They've sent four judges out of Boston, she says, weighty magistrates of the General Court, and at the head sits Deputy Governor of the Province.
PROCTOR:
Why, she's mad.
ELIZABETH:
I would to God she were. There be fourteen people in the jail now, she says. And they'll be tried, and the court have power to hang them too, she says.
PROCTOR:
Ah, they'd never hang -
ELIZABETH:
The Deputy Governor promise hangin' if they'll not confess, John. The town's gone wild, I think. She speak of Abigail, and I thought she were a saint, to hear her. Abigail brings the other girls in court, and where she walks the crowd will part like the sea for Israel. And folks are brought before them, and if they cream and howl and fall to the floor - the person's clapped in the jail for bewitchin' them.

-> Justice in the witchcraft trials means confessing or dying - so even if you are not guilty, you must confess to avoid death. But both - Elizabeth and John - know it's a fraud because of their earlier association with Abigail.
Act II, ll. 326 - 352
ELIZABETH:
John, have you ever shown her some-what of contempt? She cannot pass you in the church but you will blush -
PROCTOR:
I may blush for my sin.
ELIZABETH:
I think she sees another meaning in that blush.
PROCTOR:
And what see you? What see you, Elizabeth?
ELIZABETH:
I think you be somewhat ashamed, far I am there, and she so close.
PROCTOR:
When will you know me, woman? Were I stone I would have cracked for shame this seven month!
ELIZABETH:
The go and tell her she's a whore. Whatever promise she may sense - break it, John, break it.
PROCTOR:
Good, then. I'll go.
ELIZABETH:
Oh, how unwillingly!
PROCTOR:
I will curse her hotter than the oldest cinder in hell. But pray, begrudge me not my anger!
ELIZABETH:
Your anger! I only ask you -
PROCTOR:
Woman, am I so base? Do you truly think me base?
ELIZABETH:
I never called you base.
PROCTOR:
Then how do you charge me with such a promise? The promise that a stallion gives a mare I gave that girl!
ELIZABETH:
Then why do you anger with me when I bid you to break it?
PROCTOR:
Because it speaks deceit, and I am honest! But I'll plead no more! I see your spirit twists around the single error of my life, and I will never tear it free!
ELIZABETH:
You'll tear it free - when you come to know that I will be your only wife, or no wife at all! She has an arrow in you yet, John Proctor, and you know it well!


-> In this exchange, John Proctor is begging his wife to forgive him - but though she wants to forgive him, she is right about Abigail's interpretation of their affair, which has bound Abigail and John together in ways he fails to understand.

Proctor wants to be trusted, and he believes himself honest - but he hasn't faced up to his ultimate deceit, his unfaithfulness to his wife. Sensing this, Elizabeth doubts him, which keeps their relationship strained and awkward even seven month after his affair with Abigail Williams ended.
Act III, ll. 769 - 794
ELIZABETH:
Your Honor, I - in that time I were sick. And I - My husband is a good and righteous man. He is never drunk as some are, nor wastin' his time at the shovelboard, but always at his work. But n my sickness - you see, sir, I were a long time sick after my last baby, and I thought I saw my husband somewhat returning from me. And this girl -
DANFORTH:
Look at me.
ELIZABETH:
Aye, sir. Abigail Williams -
DANFORTH:
What of Abigail Williams?
ELIZABETH:
I came to think he fancied her. And so one night I lost my wits, I think, and put her out on the highroad.
DANFORTH:
Your husband - did he indeed turn from you?
ELIZABETH:
My husband - is a goodly man, sir.
DANFORTH:
The he did not turn from you.
ELIZABETH:
He -
DANFORTH:
Look at me! To your own knowledge, has John Proctor ever committed the crime of lechery? Answer my question! Is your husband a lecher?
ELIZABETH:
No, sir.
DANFORTH:
Remover her, Marshal.
PROCTOR:
Elizabeth, tell the truth!
DANFORTH:
She has spoken. Remove her!
PROCTOR:
Elizabeth, I have confessed it!
ELIZABETH:
Oh, God!
PROCTOR:
She only thought to save my name!

->The one moment in Elizabeth's life when telling the truth would mean salvation, she lies to save her husband's reputation - an act of forgiveness and compassion. But there's still the question: Does the fact that she tells a lie amount to a compromise of her deepest principles, or is it an act of courage?
Act IV, ll. 397 - 428
PROCTOR:
I'd have you see some honesty in it. Let them, that never lied die now to keep their souls. It is pretense for me, a vanity that will not blind God nor keep my children out of the wind. What say you?
ELIZABETH:
John, it come to naught that I should forgive you, if you'll not forgive yourself. It is not my soul, John, it is yours. Only be sure of this, for I know it now: Whatever you will do, it is a good man does it. I have read my heart this three month, John. I have sins of my own to count. It needs a cold wife to prompt lechery.
PROCTOR:
Enough, enough -
ELIZABETH:
Better you should know me!
PROCTOR:
I will not hear it! I know you!
ELIZABETH:
You take my sins upon you, John -
PROCTOR:
No, I take my own, my own!
ELIZABETH:
John, I count myself so plain, so poorly made, no honest love could come to me! Suspicion kissed you when i did; I never knew how I should say my love. It were a cold house I kept!
HATHORNE:
What say you, Proctor? The sun is soon up.
ELIZABETH:
Do what you will. But let none be your judge. There be no heigher judge under Heaven than Proctor is! Forgove me, forgive me, John - I never knew such goodness in the world!
PROCTOR:
I want my life.

-> Elizabeth's forgiveness makes John Proctor want to keep on living, even if he must live dishonestly. He decides to confess.
THE ENDING!
Full transcript