by Arthur Miller
Elizabeth Proctor Timeline and Summary
- Proctor and his wife, Elizabeth, are having dinner in their house when Elizabeth lets him know that the town has gone crazy. Fourteen people have been arrested as witches.
- She urges her husband to go to the town and tell them that Abigail Williams’s visions are a fraud.
- Elizabeth gets upset when she learns that Abigail told him about it when the two of them were alone. She claims she isn’t judging him, but she is still sad and frustrated.
- Mary Warren returns home and tells them about the day’s events. She gives Elizabeth a poppet (a doll) that she made for Elizabeth, and then tells the Proctors that she saved Elizabeth’s life today when Elizabeth’s name got mentioned in court.
- When Mary leaves, Elizabeth says she has always suspected that her husband’s affair would lead to nasty consequences. She again urges her husband talk to Abigail, to break the unspoken promise he made to her when they had sex.
- When Hale comes to find out what he can about Elizabeth, since she was mentioned in court, they discuss what is happening. Elizabeth says she cannot believe there are witches if she, or people like Rebecca, are to be sentenced as witches.
- She denies that the poppet is hers when Cheever and Herrick come to arrest her, but she doesn’t resist arrest. She asks her husband to come get her out of jail quickly.
- When the Salem court fetches her to ask her why she put Abigail out of the house, she hems and haws, explaining that she believed her husband had come to fancy Abigail.
- When asked directly if her husband is a lecher, she lies to protect his good name.
- On the day her husband is to die, Elizabeth is called on to plead with him to sign a confession and save his life. She doesn’t do that, but she does say she won’t judge him if he decides to confess to the false charge.
- She also tells him that she knows he’s a good man and that she now blames herself for his adultery—she was a cold wife.
- When Proctor decides to go to the gallows, Hale urges Elizabeth to go again and plead with him, but she says she cannot—he has regained his sense of goodness and she won’t take that away from him. That’s the final line of the play.