by Arthur Miller
The Crucible Compassion and Forgiveness Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Line) Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue.
PROCTOR: I'd have you see some honesty in it. Let them that never lied die now to keep their souls. It is pretense for me, a vanity that will not blind God nor keep my children out of the wind. (Pause.) What say you?
ELIZABETH, upon a heaving sob that always threatens: John, it come to naught that I should forgive you, if you'll not forgive yourself. (Now he turns away a little, in great agony.) It is not my soul, John, it is yours. (He stands, as though in physical pain, slowly rising to his feet with a great immortal longing to find his answer. It is difficult to say, and she is on the verge of tears.) Only be sure of this, for I know it now: Whatever you will do, it is a good man does it. (He turns his doubting, searching gaze upon her.) I have read my heart this three month, John. (Pause.) I have sins of my own to count. It needs a cold wife to prompt lechery.
PROCTOR, in great pain: Enough, enough—
ELIZABETH, now pouring out her heart: Better you should know me!
PROCTOR: I will not hear it! I know you!
ELIZABETH: You take my sins upon you, John—
PROCTOR, in agony: No, I take my own, my own!
ELIZABETH: 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! (In fright, she swerves, as Hathorne enters.)
HATHORNE: What say you, Proctor? The sun is soon up.
Proctor, his chest heaving, stares, turns to Elizabeth. She comes to him as though to plead, her voice quaking.
ELIZABETH: 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! (She covers her face, weeping.)
Proctor turns from her to Hathorne; he is off the earth, his voice hollow.
PROCTOR: I want my life. (IV.204-214)
Elizabeth’s forgiveness makes John Proctor want to keep on living, even if he must live dishonestly. He decides to confess.