Elizabeth’s experience of betrayal is the source of her inability to forgive. John Proctor, Elizabeth’s husband confesses that he commits adultery with their servant, Abigail while Elizabeth is sick. John’s betrayal of their marriage leads Elizabeth to become judgmental and unforgiving. In Act I, Miller demonstrates Elizabeth’s mercilessness when John tells Elizabeth, “You forget nothin’ and forgive nothin’” (52). Even months after the affair, Elizabeth’s judgement of John creates tension in the Proctor household. John’s lack of loyalty to their marriage makes it difficult for Elizabeth to forgive him. Eli...
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... guilt is overthrown because their love for one another masks their shame. Unforgivness weighs down on the shoulders of repressed victims, destroying their chance of attaining freedom and peace. Elizabeth is able to forgive John for lechery because her love for him exceeds her heartbreak. She accepts John’s decision to be hanged because she realizes John cannot live with himself as a liar. The grace and acceptance Elizabeth shows John before his execution is a grace from above that most humans cannot portray without faith. Humans are nowhere near perfect, but God gives grace despite imperfections. The magnitude of this love surpasses all human understanding. Elizabeth’s faith in God makes her realize she and John are not perfect, yet God loves them and gives them undeserving grace. Grace prevails despite heartbreak destroying the chance of freedom and acceptance.
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