PROCTOR, breathless and in agony: It [Abigail] is a whore!
DANFORTH, dumfounded: You charge—?
ABIGAIL: Mr. Danforth, he is lying!
PROCTOR: Mark her! Now she'll suck a scream to stab me with but—
DANFORTH: You will prove this! This will not pass!
PROCTOR, trembling, his life collapsing about him: I have known her, sir. I have known her.
DANFORTH: You—you are a lecher?
FRANCIS, horrified: John, you cannot say such a—
PROCTOR: Oh, Francis, I wish you had some evil in you that you might know me. (To Danforth:) A man will not cast away his good name. You surely know that.
DANFORTH, dumfounded: In—in what time? In what place?
PROCTOR, his voice about to break, and his shame great:
In the proper place—where my beasts are bedded. On the last night of my
joy, some eight months past. She used to serve me in my house, sir. (He has to clamp his jaw to keep from weeping.)
A man may think God sleeps, but God sees everything, I know it now. I
beg you, sir, I beg you—see her what she is. My wife, my dear good wife,
took this girl soon after, sir, and put her out on the highroad. And
being what she is, a lump of vanity, sir— (He is being overcome.) Excellency, forgive me, forgive me. (Angrily
against himself, he turns away from the Governor for a moment. Then, as
though to cry out is his only means of speech left:) She thinks to
dance with me on my wife's grave! And well she might, for I thought of
her softly. God help me, I lusted, and there is a promise in such sweat.
But it is a whore's vengeance, and you must see it now. (III.374-384)
Proctor reveals Abigail’s true motivations, jealousy and desire, at great personal cost to himself. If had made the revelation earlier, perhaps it could have prevented the tragedy of the witch-hunt.