Elizabeth Proctor Throughout ‘The Crucible’, Arthur Miller had reconstituted the Salem witch trials of 1692 in Massachusetts with theatrical dramas in a small town. Furthermore, Miller had succeeded in depicting his characters’ inner feelings only through dialogues and unexpected events.
He shows readers the cunning of Abigail, the repentance of John Proctor, and especially, the morality of Elizabeth Proctor. In ‘The Crucible’, Elizabeth Proctor’s characteristics were built as a cold and virtuous woman, a good Christian and an ideal woman of the 1690s. Elizabeth Proctor, or Goody Proctor, used to be a lenient wife and good mother until she found out about the affair between her husband, John Proctor, and the maid, Abigail. Then, she started to become a cold and suspicious woman. Although it had been seven months since the day she figured things out and fired Abigail, Elizabeth and John still had problems with each others. She was jealous and doubting for all these months and she had the rights to do so as her husband had cheated on her.
And a seven-month period was considered to cool down their tension a little bit, but when John admitted that he came to Salem and was alone with Abigail, “she had suddenly lost all faith in him” (p.52). Elizabeth’s heart now seemed colder than Salem’s February, she now believed in nothing. As we can see clearly, Goody Proctor tried to forgive her husband many times. Her heart and mind were struggling to start over with John.
Although Elizabeth was a suspicious and unforgiving person, she was also a perceptive Christian. Based on what she heard about Abigail’s false accusation of innocent residents, she had foreseen that Abigail would soon target on her. She immediately encouraged John to come and tell the court the truth. But it was too late as Cheever arrived after that with a warrant and arrested her. In Act Three, Elizabeth, a good Christian ‘who would never lie’, had lied about his affair to save her husband’s reputation, which unfortunately, brought her husband’s death. After spending months in prison, Goody realized that she was ‘so plain’, and John’s affair happened because of her coldness.
Moreover, she thought that she was cold because she didn’t love herself, so she could not be able to accept John’s love. “It were a cold house I kept!” After that, she decided to forgive John, “John, it come to naught that I should forgive you, if you’ll not forgive yourself…
” (p.101). Till the end, she still insisted on supporting him no matter what happened, “He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!” (p.106)Moving on to John Proctor, one of the main characters, who is Elizabeth’s beloved husband.
John Proctor is an honest and good Christian farmer. John was considered to be the most charming and perfect man in the town, this led to his affair with Abigail Williams, the maid in his house, which was the reason for everything that occured in the play. After the affair happened, John had been struggling with himself whether to tell his wife or not. And then, he chose to confess, “But I wilted, and, like a Christian, I confessed. Confessed!” (p.52).
However, his confess brought him nothing but his wife’s coldness. Being locked in his sin filled with guilt, he was attempting to get everything back to normal, but he couldn’t. ” I have not moved from there to there without I think to please you,” (p.52) He did everything he could to get rid of Elizabeth’s suspiciousness, but all he got was, ” still an everlasting funeral marches round your heart.” John failed in connecting his family and also failed in saving Elizabeth.
In Act Two, he knew that the poppet was Abigail’s plan, he knew that Abigail was taking her revenge, but he could do nothing. He just screamed, yelled and begged when Elizabeth was arrested and brought away. Now he realized that it was all his fault and decided to go to the court and committed adultery. He chose to give up his reputation, just to save his beloved wife.
However, Elizabeth thought the same thing, she wanted to protect him, so she lied, which she had never done or thought of doing it in her whole life. This led to his unsuccessful confession. In the end of the play, he made a tough decision to save his life, he admitted being in league with Evil. However, in order to do this, he had to sacrifice his reputation by signing his name.
This was too much for him, so he did not do it. The play, as well as his life, ended up with Elizabeth’s voice, “He have his goodness now.”Last but not least, the ringleader behind all these things, Abigail Williams, who drove the whole play.
Abigail Williams had sexual desires and obsession with power. She was Reverend Parris’s niece and used to be a maid in Proctor’s house. She was madly in love with John, so she seduced and slept with him. However, she wanted more, she had desire to become John’s legally wife.
Therefore, when she and other girls were dancing in the forest, this insane girl drank blood to cast a spell and kill Elizabeth. Once the trials began, with her cunning and smart brain, she came up with the idea of accusing Elizabeth. This little girl thought that John still loved her, so she did everything to get closed to John.
However, when John threatened her because of Elizabeth, she decided to take a vengeance on his wife. She was so evil and ‘wicked to the core’ that physically hurt herself by stabbing a needle into her bell just in order to accuse Elizabeth of witchcraft. In the court, she literally was the girls’ leader as all the girls repeated the same thing she did so that they could accuse somebody. This crazy girl accused more than twenty people just to be John’s wife, which meant she was deeply obsessed with John. Ultimately, when she felt that things were going too far, she decided to run away with Parris’s money. She came to meet John the last time with the hope that both would run away together.
However, she realized that everything she did for John could not bring them together, all of them was useless and John would never be hers. She got mad, ran away and ended up her life as a prostitute.In conclusion, Arthur Miller gained enormous success by ‘The Crucible’. He was so talented to describe character’s complex introspection; not only John Proctor or Abigail , but also other characters such as Reverend Hale, Reverend Parris, etc.. Therefore, ‘The Crucible’ is literally a masterpiece and interesting novel to read with logical and practical circumstances, which sometimes surprise readers of unexpected events and melt readers’ hearts with touching scenes.