John Proctor is your typical Puritan man of the time, wants sons to discipline, a wife to call his home and wants a good farm to provide for his family. What makes John Proctor so special is that he was a stand-up guy who speaks his mind. Around town, his name was synonymous with honor and integrity, which he also finds his identity in. He took pleasure in exposing hypocrisy and was respected for it. Most importantly, John Proctor respected himself. John throughout the play is considered a static character even though at the signing of his name he would have been considered dynamic.
But he stayed static and went to his grave dying an honest man. Even though he had an affair with Abigail, John Proctor still seeks to make a stable relationship with his wife, even when their time together is coming to a close. “He reaches out his hand as though toward an embodiment not quite real, and as he touches her, a strange soft sound, half laughter, half amazement, comes from his throat. He pats her hand. She covers his hand with hers. And then, weak, he sits. Then she sits, facing him. ” (Miller, Act IV) John Proctor is similar to Elizabeth Proctor in that they are both honest in their word.
John Proctor dies with the truth and Elizabeth Proctor is truthful with John. Elizabeth Proctor is a virtuous woman who is steadfast and true. These traits also make her a bit of cold. When the audience first meets her, she’s especially cold and fishy. She’s got good reason to be, though, because her husband has recently had an affair with their housekeeper, Abigail Williams. Throughout the play, she seems to be struggling to forgive her husband and let go of her anger. And, of course, her hatred of Abigail is understandable.
Elizabeth’s dislike of Abigail seems justified later on in the play when Abigail tries to murder Elizabeth by framing her for witchcraft. But in spite of the affair, Elizabeth Proctor still finds her husband to be good. “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. (Miller, Act III) But towards the end of the play, Elizabeth Proctor is like John Proctor and she confesses her feelings for him. “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… now pouring out her heart: Better you should know me! ” (Miller Act IV) Elizabeth and Johns relationship is certainly not an easy one. Although having been married with two children the intrusion of Abigail could not have come at a worse time. With Elizabeth ill and Abigail’s personality being such a contrast, John felt it as an escape from his wife’s absence.
The affair that John had with Abigail puts a strain on their relationship creating a physical and emotional divide that the audience easily pick up on. On top of the affair, living in a puritan society which can be demeaning to women makes the situation and the divide even more prominent. However the couple’s actions towards each other and Johns anger towards himself over the affair that he had shows how much they really love each other. At the Proctor’s house, it is late before John enters. Elizabeth is singing in another room when john arrives, John proceeds to try the stew which his wife had been preparing whilst he was out.
When he tries the stew he is dissatisfied with the seasoning so adds salt finishing just as Elizabeth enters. When eating the meal John is careful to make sure that he compliments Elizabeth on the stew and the seasoning. This implies to the audience that he wants to please Elizabeth and relieve the atmosphere of any tension. This could be because he feels guilty about his affair with Abigail. But it also gives the impression to the audience that there is a lack of communication between them because, John feels he has to hide the fact that he added seasoning, just to make Elizabeth happy.