Elizabeth serves as the moral backbone of Salem, guiding John on the path of virtue and creating contrast with the corruptive courts. However, this virtuous attitude is also what makes Elizabeth a cold wife, which consequently results in tensions in her marriage, John's crime of lechery, the witchcraft commotion, and ultimately John's demise. Despite this, towards the end of the play, Elizabeth is able to make peace with herself and inspire John to find goodness. Guiding John on the path of virtue
"I think you must go to Salem, John. I think so. You must tell them it is a fraud" (53).
"Do what you will. But let none be your judge. There be no higher judge under Heaven than Proctor is! Forgive me, forgive me, John - I never knew such goodness in the world" (37). Virtue makes her cold, has a vindictive streak
"She is blackening my name in the village! She is telling lies about me! She is a cold, sniveling woman, and you bend to her!" (24).
"Oh, Elizabeth, your justice would freeze beer!" (55).
Inspired John to do the right thing
"He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!" (145). Very virtuous, moral backbone, contrast with courts and town
"But if she say she is pregnant, then she must be! That woman will never lie, Mr. Danforth" (92). Consequences of her attitude and coldness
"I have sins of my own to count. It needs a cold wife to prompt lechery" (137).
"John, I counted 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!" (137). Throughout the play, Elizabeth is perceived as a cold fish struggling to forgive her husband, who committed adultery. However, she is eventually able to realize her own flaws and therefore forgive her husband; resulting in her noblest act: helping John forgive himself as he dies a righteous man.