In The Crucible, how do the judges discourage anyone from defending the good character or innocence of a person accused of witchcraft?  Any quotes to support it?

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mrs-campbell's profile pic

mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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1.  "Mr. Cheever, have warrants drawn for all of these-arrest for examination."  This is Danforth's response to those who signed a petition that stating that they "never saw no sign [the arrested women] had dealings with the Devil."

2.  "I have no choice but to arrest you for contempt of this court."  This is Danforth again, arresting Giles, who attempts to prove Putnam is "killing his neighbors for their land." 

3.  "Do you not know that God damns all liars?"  This is Danforth speaking with Mary Warren, and not very encouraging words, as she tries to defraud the others.  Later, Hawthorne and Parris pressure her to "pretend to faint now" and when she can't, conclude that "this is a trick to blind the court!"  Danforth later turns on Mary's attempt, asking "do you send your spirit out?"  They could've at least encouraged and supported her a bit, sheesh!

4.  Instead of believing Proctor's confession of adultery, they have to bring in his wife to confirm it:  "Is your husband a lecher!"  Elizabeth lies and they believe her (they seem predisposed to), and then Mary turns on John. 

The judges effectively, under the guise of logic and calm, shut down anyone trying to prove their original convictions wrong.

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favoritethings | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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The judges set up an ultimatum of sorts.  They claim that anyone who is innocent is happy about the work the courts are doing.  This means, then, that anyone who questions the court or takes issue with its methods must be against it, and, if someone is against he courts, it must be because they are guilty or have something to hide.  This is a good way to keep the town in fear so that no one questions the court or the judges.  The Reverend Parris says, "All innocent and Christian people are happy for the courts in Salem!  These people are gloomy for it!"  He describes John Proctor, Giles Corey, and Francis Nurse: men who have come to the court to offer evidence in the hopes that it will clear their wives of charges.  Likewise, Danforth says, "a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between."

Further, the judges have made people afraid to come forward with evidence against the girls or in favor of the accused.  For example, the when the men hand in the testament to their wives' characters, signed by ninety one citizens of good reputation in Salem, Danforth issues arrest warrants for all of them to be brought in for questioning.  Francis is beside himself because he promised that none would be harmed.  In response, Danforth says, "Then I am sure they may have nothing to fear."  Then, when Giles gives his testimony about the man he heard speak out against Thomas Putnam, he will not reveal the man's name because he doesn't want the man to get in trouble with the court too.  He says, "I will not give you no name.  I mentioned my wife's name once and I'll burn in hell long enough for that."  For this, Giles is held in contempt of court.

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