ELIZABETH: Your Honor, I-in that time I were sick. And I- My husband is a good and righteous man. He is never drunk as some are, nor wastin’ his time at the shovelboard, but always at his work. But in my sickness-you see, sir, I were a long time sick after my last baby, and I thought I saw my husband somewhat turning from me. And this girl- She turns to Abigail.
DANFORTH: Look at me.
ELIZABETH: Aye, sir. Abigail Williams- She breaks off.
DANFORTH: What of Abigail Williams?
ELIZABETH: I came to think he fancied her. And so one night I lost my wits, I think, and put her out on the highroad.
DANFORTH: Your husband-did he indeed turn from you?
ELIZABETH, in agony: My husband-is a goodly man, sir.
DANFORTH: Then he did not turn from you.
ELIZABETH, starting to glance at Proctor: He-
DANFORTH, reaches out and holds her face, then: Look at me! To your own knowledge, has John Proctor ever committed the crime of lechery? In a crisis of indecision she cannot speak. Answer my question! Is your husband a lecher!
ELIZABETH, faintly: No, sir.
DANFORTH: Remove her!
PROCTOR: Elizabeth, tell the truth!
DANFORTH: She has spoken. Remove her!
PROCTOR, crying out: Elizabeth, I have confessed it!
ELIZABETH: Oh, God! The door closes behind her.
PROCTOR: She only thought to save my name! (III.410-426)
PROCTOR, with great force of will, but not quite looking at her: I have been thinking I would confess to them, Elizabeth. She shows nothing. What say you? If I give them that?
ELIZABETH: I cannot judge you, John. Pause.
PROCTOR, simply-a pure question: What would you have me do?
ELIZABETH: As you will, I would have it. Slight pause: I want you living, John. That's sure.
PROCTOR, pauses, then with a flailing of hope: Giles' wife? Have she confessed?
ELIZABETH: She will not. Pause.
PROCTOR: It is a pretense, Elizabeth.
ELIZABETH: What is?
PROCTOR: I cannot mount the gibbet like a saint. It is a fraud. I am not that man. She is silent. My honesty is broke, Elizabeth; I am no good man. Nothing's spoiled by giving them this lie that were not rotten long before.
ELIZABETH: And yet you've not confessed till now. That speak, goodness in you.
PROCTOR: Spite only keeps me silent. It is hard to give a lie to dogs. (IV.188-200)
DANFORTH: Mr. Proctor. When the Devil came to you did you see Rebecca Nurse in his company? Proctor is silent. Come, man, take courage – did you ever see her with the Devil?
PROCTOR, almost inaudibly: No.
Danforth, now sensing trouble, glances at John and goes to the table, and picks up a sheet – the list of condemned.
DANFORTH: Did you ever see her sister, Mary Easty, with the Devil?
PROCTOR: No, I did not.
DANFORTH, his eyes narrow on Proctor: Did you ever see Martha Corey with the Devil?
PROCTOR: I did not.
DANFORTH, realizing, slowly putting the sheet down: Did you ever see anyone with the Devil?
PROCTOR: I did not.
DANFORTH: Proctor, you mistake me. I am not empowered to trade your life for a lie. You have most certainly seen some person with the Devil. Proctor is silent. Mr. Proctor, a score of people have already testified they saw this woman with the Devil.
PROCTOR: Then it is proved. Why must I say it?
DANFORTH: Why "must" you say it! Why, you should rejoice to say it if your soul is truly purged of any love for Hell!
PROCTOR: They think to go like saints. I like not to spoil their names.
DANFORTH, inquiring, incredulous: Mr. Proctor, do you think they go like saints?
PROCTOR, evading: This woman never thought she done the Devil’s work.
DANFORTH: Look you, sir. I think you mistake your duty here. It matters nothing what she thought….
PROCTOR: I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another. Crying out, with hatred: I have no tongue for it.