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Mary enters Act II feeling weak, sad and guilty. This is first represented when she gives Elizabeth the poppet that she had hand-sewed. As the play advances, Mary breaks down in sobs while telling the Proctors about the proceedings she witnessed that day. Later, due to her strong sense of shame, Mary agrees to testify against Abigail in the high court with John. Seeing so many falsely accused people caused her to feel severely emotionally damaged, leading up to the drama of Act III.
As the trial proceeds in Act III, Mary becomes overwhelmed with fear, making her unable to explain herself and what actually happened. Fear begins to consume more and more of her. Afraid that she will die, Mary breaks under the pressure. She found it easier to lie and survive, rather than tell the truth and die. Her accusation of John being “the Devil’s man” ultimately changes the Proctor’s lives forever. John and Elizabeth cannot see their children grow up. John feels shameful that his name has been blackened.
Yet it makes John and Elizabeth’s relationship grow stronger, because they both start to appreciate the other more, apologize for their mistakes, and forgive each other. 2. John takes pride in his name. He cares about his reputation of not only him as a Proctor, but his children too. But when he realizes that admitting to adultery is the only way he can break off Abigail’s power, he recognizes that the goodness of the town and its people is more important than blackening his name.
John’s decides to confess in Act IV because he does not want his children to grow up without a father, and he does not want Elizabeth to live without a supporting husband. His personal integrity causes him to renounce his confession. He does not want to blacken his name any more than it already has been. And after seeing Rebecca Nurse, he realizes that he would rather die an honest man than live as a liar. This decision shows a maturity in John that he did not have before. 3. Elizabeth in Act II is portrayed as cold woman who is still suspicious of her husband.
As the play continues though, the audience starts to see that the reason she is so bitter is because she truly loves and cares about John. This is portrayed when she lies in Act III. It is revealed by John that Elizabeth never lies. So, when she lies at the trial, she does so thinking that she is protecting John. In Act IV, Elizabeth comes to realize that “It needs a cold wife to prompt lechery”. She shows that she has forgiven him. John is influenced by Elizabeth’s constant virtuous truth.
It makes him see that he would rather die honest than live as a liar. This creates a sense of peace in Elizabeth, knowing that he has learned from his mistake, and that he has finally found “goodness”. 4. In Acts I and II, Hale feels that he is a knowledgeable man. He has confidence that he can bring God to any which he encounters. But, as Act III unfolds, he starts to see the Proctor’s truism and Mary’s emotionally compromised and damaged soul. This is why he starts to doubt himself, his decisions, and the accusations he has made.
He realizes that he was the driving force behind the witch trials. He goes from an over-confident man to a broken one. He starts to question all the witchcraft accusations he has previously made and future ones made by other people. He also looses faith in the justice of the law. He is seeking a guilt-free conscience, so I think that during his life after the trials, he is going to strengthen his relationship with God. He will want to know the truth of all the decisions he made in his life, and whether or not they were the right thing to do.