Abigail’s questioning sparks a tension between the two, however John does not lose his temper, he remains calm with Abby, and does not lash out with a threat like he imposed upon Mary Warren. This is another definite sign that John regards Abby highly, so much so that he will not do anything to hurt her emotionally or physically.
He wants to make very clear that things between him and Abby are over, sp he says to Abby “I will cut off my hand before I reach for you again” showing that he truly regrets what he did, and does not want to repeat it. He is so desperate to prevent anything like this happening again; he is truly prepared to mutilate himself to stop.
John is very protective of his wife, Elizabeth, and threatens to cease Abby’s bad mouthing when she ridicules their relationship. John is becoming angered with Abigail, but he is still not resorting to physical threats.
Elizabeth is convinced that john still feels softly for Abigail but he swears blind that he does not care for her anymore.
The character of John Proctor is set as a strong male figure of domination for remembrance throughout the play.
The relationship between John and Elizabeth is very tense, and it is clearly portrayed to the audience that the slightest insult or wrong word could spark a blazing row between them. In act two, John comes in after he has been working hard on the land, and realises the food cooking on the stove. He tastes it, and realising that Elizabeth is not present, he adds salt to season it. This is a perfect indication that the tension between them is so intense, even if John dislikes the taste of Elizabeth’s cooking it could cause great dispute between them. John is thinking ahead of things that he can do to avoid potentially offending Elizabeth
John is constantly attempting to converse with Elizabeth, but does not succeed. Whenever John asks a question, Elizabeth is always giving brief, usually one-word, answers. Elizabeth is extremely reluctant to talk to John, and this gives a great feeling of tension that would be portrayed to the audience, giving them the impression that they were in the same amount of tension, as if it would be a crime to even move.
Later on in act two, John says “It’s well seasoned”, but he was the one that actually added the salt, showing that he has planned his moves well, trying to give Elizabeth a better feeling of herself. John is always remarking about Elizabeth, trying to gain some recognition, in the hope that he will inherit some kind of forgiveness.
As John eats in silence, the tension between the couple rises. Eventually the silence is broken and John says to Elizabeth “I think you’re sad again. Are you?”. It is obvious that Elizabeth wants to avoid the subject, so she changes it. John is always scrambling through his mind for things to say that would not offend Elizabeth. It is blatantly obvious that he does not want to hurt Elizabeth in any way, so the impression is given that he is planning his sentences out in his head.
Elizabeth begins talking about John’s late coming. A row is avoided but John is still persistent in asking about Elizabeth’s sadness. Eager to keep the peace, John goes on to answer Elizabeth’s question. The tension is building to its limits and this is obvious to the audience. Now that the topic of sentence has changed, Elizabeth puts more effort into answering John’s questions, desperately trying to avoid John’s previous curiosity.
Finally the dispute begins. The bending ruler that was the “Peace” between John and Elizabeth has snapped. John feels immense remorse for his affair with Abigail, and it is a very delicate area for John to deal with, so, as soon as Elizabeth begins asking about it, John has had enough, and begins to add his side to the row. The tension has built up to a dramatic argument and the speed of the play rapidly increases, enthralling the audience in whole ordeal.
John tries his best to gain the forgiveness of Elizabeth, but to no avail. There is a great impression that John Proctor is reluctant to give up. John always makes sure that he makes is point and that he is heard.
It has been seven months since John’s affair with Abigail, but the relationship between John and Elizabeth is far from repaired. John has tried his best to avoid any dispute with Elizabeth and he exclaims to her; “I have gone tiptoe in this house seven month since she is gone.” implying that John fears any move he makes could ignite a fierce rage between them.
It is obvious that Elizabeth has not been happy at all during the time she has known about John and Abigail. John emphasises this by saying “an everlasting funeral marches around your heart”. By using this metaphor, he tells of how Elizabeth has not witnessed any kind of happiness in her heart, as if she was “mourning” something.
During the argument, John is very forceful and wants to remain in control, making sure that he is being heard; to make sure that this is happening, he frequently cuts off Elizabeth. John does not like to be put in an awkward position and gets very temperamental whenever he is in one.
Towards the end of the play, the true character of John Proctor begins to show. The conversation between him and Elizabeth has developed, but in some senses it may be too late, because John is being is being put on trial, and this conversation between him and Elizabeth may be their last.
The feeling of desperation is not obvious in John, but as the act continues it becomes more obvious, and it is clear that he is dealing with his life. John is very confused throughout the ordeal. He is mixed up about whether the plead guilty or not to the charges before him. If he pleads guilty, he will live, but his name will be blackened throughout the village of Salem, and if he denies the charges, and campaigns his innocence, he will be killed. It is a very taxing situation.
John sees his two options with the outcomes produced. If he dies, he dies a noble man, showing courage worthy of a warrior; but if he lives, he will be branded an associate of the Devil for the rest of his life. John is stuck in a “life and death” situation. This is the hardest decision that any human being would have to make.
At the beginning of his hearing, John wants to live; but in order for him to do that, he has to plead guilty to witchcraft. John seems unaffected by this at first, and goes along with all of the allegations that the court are firing at him, pleading guilty to all of them. The impression that John has reduced himself to something that he is not, is present.
When the court have finished reading him his charges, they ask for him to sign his name. John is very reluctant to do this, and is prompted into signing his dignity away. John realises that this is a mistake and grabs the document and tears it to pieces and exclaims: “Let me have my name!” signifying that John does not want to give his name away, and if they already have his verbal confession, what do they need his name for?
John is becoming very desperate and this is portrayed through his voice and his actions. The audience will receive a very strong feeling of this as well. There is also a build in the atmospheric tension, but building up to what is not clear.
He knows now that because of his actions, and his want for retaining his dignity, he has to die. John is in a state, but realises that this is the best thing for him. The amount of courage is immense and this is displayed in the same immense amount. John is doing a very noble thing. Because he dies, he retains his dignity, keeps his name and prevents the death and sorrow of others, simply by taking his own life.
Elizabeth is in a state, she is “Preventing herself from collapse” because she is so distraught. She shouts “He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him.” This is a very important line because it shows how by doing this one thing, John has become a good person. He has seen the error of his ways and he has realised how he can gain forgiveness; by taking his own life to benefit the lives of others. This is the line that ends the play and it really emphasises the real John Proctor.