Explain how Danforth decides to test John's accusation of Abigail in The Crucible and discuss the irony of what happens.


In act three, John Proctor sacrifices his good name in an attempt to undermine Abigail's authority and revered position in Salem's court. After confessing to adultery, he informs Danforth that Elizabeth is aware of his affair, which is why she removed Abigail from their home. To test Proctor's confession, Danforth makes John and Abigail turn around as he summons Elizabeth. Danforth then asks Elizabeth why she removed Abigail from her home, and she struggles to respond. Danforth then directly asks Elizabeth if John Proctor committed adultery, and she attempts to save her husband's reputation by saying, "No, sir" (Miller, 113). Ironically, Elizabeth dooms herself and her husband by attempting to save John's reputation when she lies to Danforth. She is unaware that John has already confessed to adultery and sacrificed his positive reputation. Elizabeth does not realize that telling the truth will save herself and John while simultaneously undermining Abigail's authority. Instead of saving her husband, Elizabeth ironically dooms him by lying to Danforth.

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