In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, the couple, John and Elizabeth Proctor, undergoes a series of complications that only continues to aggravate the already thinly veiled relationship they have. Their strife begins with John Proctor, a stern farmer of good faith, who is only concerned with any matters that either benefit or potentially scar his reputation. John, however, is of good faith only in the faces of the public.
He conceals one dark secret to the public; he had an affair with Abigail, who used to be John Proctor’s servant, but was fired seven months ago when John’s wife exhumed the truth. John’s affair had caused great turbulence in his marital relationship with Elizabeth ever since. The couple now has a very unstable relationship because Elizabeth is very skeptical of John, as he has been seeing Abigail lately in Salem, and John is trying to reconcile for his actions.
John feels that he is being “judged for lies” by his wife every time he comes back from a trip to Salem, although John is desperately trying to accommodate for his actions such as his endeavors to “please [his wife]” (Miller 52). Elizabeth on the other hand feels that since her husband had already cheated on her once, he could be inclined to do it again. Therefore, Elizabeth can no longer love John the way she used to, and she speaks in a cold and dispassionate manner towards him, making innuendos of John’s sinful act with Abigail.
For instance, as John converses with Elizabeth after returning home from Salem, he “gets up, goes to her, [and] kisses her,” but Elizabeth “receives it with a certain disappointment,” which evinces that she is still distraught from the incident seven months ago (Miller 48). As both John and Elizabeth continue to struggle in their fragile relationship, tensions may become worse as Abigail becomes more and more desperate to be with John; she believes that John still has feelings for her and will do whatever it takes to be with him.