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Corey charges that Putnam is "killing his neighbors for their land."  As a result,...

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angelaadzuara | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 7, 2012 at 7:05 AM via iOS

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Corey charges that Putnam is "killing his neighbors for their land."  As a result, analyze what Danforth demands as proof.

Tagged with literature, the crucible

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 9, 2012 at 2:52 PM (Answer #1)

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Danforth's demand for proof is really interesting and helps to bring out a flaw in the structure and execution of the Salem court system.  Danforth has made the claim that truly innocent people have nothing to fear in the court.  He has enhanced this by suggesting that the need for lawyers helps to imply guilt.  At the same time, Danforth has gone on the record by suggesting that "either one is with the court or against it."  Yet, Danforth demands proof of intent of those he scrutinizes.  He realizes that Corey's deposition is carefully crafted and that Corey himself has some knowledge of the legal system.  It is here where one sees how flawed the legal framework of Salem is.  Danforth is able to demand proof, but as Corey points out, there can be no real proof of who is or is not a witch.  The proof that is accepted of witchcraft is spectral evidence, not representing what the real standard of an evidential burden is.  In this, Corey is able to assert both how fraudulent the court is in its supposed demand for evidence and how Putnam is using the court for his own advantage.  Danforth's demand for evidence moves towards demanding Corey disclose the name of his informant.  This creates the stand off that was inevitable.  In disclosing the name, Corey brings another person's in harm's way.  In refusing to do so, he brings himself to harm.  Through this dynamic, one sees how Danforth has been able to be successful in "boxing" in Corey to the demands of the court.  Danforth's motives for proof and evidence become nothing more than exercises of power meant to prop himself and his court up as opposed to truly seeking some level of truth and understanding.

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