Elizabeth focuses on her duty of being a good Christian wife, mother, and worker, but also wants her husband to live up to his greater potential as a “good man.” She does not like his affair and seeks to punish him for it through silent treatment and cool indifference, even though he has confessed to her; she holds him up against what he ‘should be,’ according to their shared beliefs (their Puritan faith), but also does not push him to change himself except in her silence. She is more detailed than him and more attentive to their beliefs, and knows the Commandments where he has forgotten a few. She does her duty by him by tending the house and raising his children well, and is far more sensible than a lot of their neighbors—less inclined to hysterics, and more inclined to view Abigail through her personal, subjective knowledge of her as a “harlot” and a “troublemaker.” Elizabeth does not like being lied to, and has a reputation for being honest (her husband says she never lied a day in her life). She confesses late in the story that she never knew how to “say my love” for John, and admits that it was a “cold house I kept,” one of duty but not overt affection. She blamed herself for his “lechery,” because she never saw herself as anything other than “plain and poorly.” Elizabeth does not attempt to influence her husband in any direction at the end of his life – even though telling him to sign a lie would free them both, she is so moved and appreciative of his sudden need to “do the right thing” that she leaves the decision entirely up to him, as her husband and the head of the household. She says now that he has his goodness, God forbid she take it from him. She also tells him that he needs to forgive himself for his affair, since it was never about her forgiveness, but his inability to live with having violated his own beliefs. She does not show much intuition, except in her hope that her husband can become a better man, and in her opinion of Abigail (“that girl is murder!”).

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Elizabeth cares more about the soul than the earthly body, as is shown in her high-minded idealism and the fact that she has not forgiven her husband for being human. She wants him to be perfect, to live up to a higher ideal, to live according to their religious beliefs, and celebrates when he does so, even if it means his death, because at least he goes to heaven a martyr to something worthwhile, to his principles, rather than taking a cowardly road (in her mind) and saving his life at the cost of his soul. He accuses her several times of being “unforgiving,” despite his repentance and sorrow for his actions, but it’s more that she does not know how to tell him he is forgiven, and does not like conflict, so puts on a cool exterior. In the end, she is vindicated in the belief that his time in prison has transformed his soul.