Elizabeth’s Character – Good or Bad?
Just like many puritan women, Elizabeth Proctor is reserved, slow to complain, and dutiful. Elizabeth's moral character proves to be an important factor all through the book. She gives people in the play and people today the example on how to treat others when she said, "I have sins of my own to count" (Miller 137). People can't go around judging others and not check themselves and be rightly so to judge. Before she knew of this she said, "I have read my heart" (Miller 137). She was angry at John, but she had to examine herself first to see if she even has the right to do so. After telling John these things, she eventually got to John as he contemplated confession. John rejected and her moral sense triumphed over all the lies. Elizabeth is pained by the fact that her husband was having an affair with their “strikingly beautiful” young servant.
The script remains vague as to her true feelings. Has she forgiven her husband? Or does she just tolerate him because she has no other recourse? The couple tries to be tender to each other, but her husband often has spasms of guilt and anger, and she is still vexed with suspicion. Despite their uneasiness, Elizabeth serves as Proctor’s moral compass. Whenever her husband is confused or ambivalent, she prompts him onto the path of justice. She urges him to stop the insane witch trials by revealing the truth about Abigail’s sinful, destructive ways. In Act Four, when Proctor must decide whether to falsely confess to witchcraft or hang from the gallows, he seeks his wife’s counsel. Elizabeth doesn’t want him to die, but she doesn’t want him to submit to the demands of an unjust society. Her character delivers the final lines of the play. After her husband has decided to hang from the gallows instead of signing a false confession, she remains in the jail. Even when Rev. Parris and Rev. Hale urge her to go and attempt to save her husband, she stays put. She states, "He have his goodness...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document