Elizabeth Proctor- Closer Look

Christopher McDonald

What commentary does “The Crucible” say about two of the following themes: reputation, power, and revenge?

In Salem, Elizabeth had a strong reputation for doing what was right for God. So for someone to say she was a witch would be crazy. In the book “The Crucible” John Proctor and his wife Elizabeth are very well known Christian people in the town. They had a house keeper/helper named Abigail who fell in love with John after they committed adultery together. Elizabeth kicks Abigail out of their house because she had a feeling something was going on between her and John. This made Abigail very upset so to get back at Elizabeth she accused her of witchcraft which got her arrested. This ruined Elizabeth’s reputation because she was always known as doing what God wanted her to do. For someone to be so God like how could she do something like this. The townspeople couldn’t believe that she would have done that. This ruined everything everyone knew about her in that moment.

Near the end of the play when John is about to be hung, the Court is starting to look faulty in the publics eye because the person who accused all these people left, and they already jailed 12 people and killed a few for witchcraft. It also showed that the Court was starting to kill innocent people because their was so many getting arrested for witchcraft. So to get the public back on the Courts side they had to get John to admit he committed witchcraft (Which was a lie). They would make him sign his name on a piece of paper and then post it on the Church for others to see. So to make John do this or help him make his decision they told his wife Elizabeth to talk to him and try to get him to admit to it. She had the power right then because she could have told John to not admit to it and to not lie but she told him to do what he thought was best and it eased his nerves.

How does the character’s actions, interaction with others, decisions, and/or motivations impact these themes?

The way Elizabeth acted during the play really just showed how your reputation can be destroyed and how you can be the one that changes everything. When Elizabeth was told she was a witch she couldn't believe these people she grew up with had gotten so corrupt to where they would believe Abigail’s lie. From then on everyone would look at her family and think “Oh, there's the witch family. Stay away from them!” She will be looked down upon in that town from now on until they found out what Abigail was doing.
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