The Crucible

by: Arthur Miller

Justice

1

Oh, Elizabeth, your justice would freeze beer!

Proctor lied when he told Elizabeth that Abigail denied the witchcraft rumors because he didn’t want Elizabeth to know they were alone. He reveals the truth when he says the court won’t believe him because nobody witnessed their conversation. When Elizabeth accuses him of dishonesty, Proctor gets angry that she still won’t trust him seven months after the affair. He says she is colder than ice since beer freezes at a colder temperature than water. Elizabeth later admits she was suspicious even before the affair and blames herself because “it needs a cold wife to prompt lechery.”

2

Mr. Hale, as God have not empowered me like Joshua to stop this sun from rising, so I cannot withhold from them the perfection of their punishment.

Parris asks Danforth to postpone Proctor and Rebecca’s executions in Act IV after Abigail and Mercy run away, which casts doubt on the entire trial. In the Bible, God halts the sun for Joshua so he can finish a battle to save Israel in the daylight. Danforth’s comparison is flawed because, unlike Joshua, Danforth doesn’t ask for help to save Salem, and God stops the sunset, not the sunrise, in the story. Nonetheless, Danforth then implies that the executions are God’s will and therefore perfect, so he won’t stand in the way of them.

3

Quail not before God’s judgment in this, for it may well be God damns a liar less than he that throws his life away for pride.

Right before Proctor’s execution, Hale tells Elizabeth that God won’t judge Proctor for giving a false confession because “life is God’s most precious gift.” Hale feels personally responsible for the witch hunt, and Proctor wouldn’t have to lie at all if Hale hadn’t believed Abigail’s lies in the first place. Elizabeth is famously honest and lied only to save Proctor’s reputation in Act III, so she is especially wary of Hale’s logic. Even though Proctor was punished for Elizabeth’s lie, Hale excuses it as “a natural lie to tell” and believes God will forgive her.