How do the judges intend to disprove Mary Warren's deposition in The Crucible?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The judges understand that Mary Warren's testimony seeks to undermine the already determined conclusions of the court.  They fully understand that her testimony will discredit the court's findings.  In addition to this, both Hathorne and Danforth clearly see that she is unstable.  In Act Three, Scene 1, Danforth remarks that Mary Warren "is not hearty, I see."  The fact that Proctor has to physically prop her up and reminder her of the Angel Raphael's words to Tobias to emotionally prop her up helps the judges understand that she is the weak link and if they can break her down in front of the court, it will neutralize the threat that she and Proctor pose to their findings and the court's standing in the eyes of the community.  They start out to weaken her by asking her questions about her knowledge of the penalty for lying and whether or not Proctor has put her up to this, as Parris had already indicated that Proctor possesses another motive in trying to bring down the court's standing.  After these rounds of questions, the judges bring in the other girls.  It is unclear whether they recognize Abigail's power to coldly lie, but the judges understand the power of bringing the other girls in front of Mary.  Already weakened and already semi- discombobulaed in front of the court, the judges figured that the catalyst for her ultimate discrediting would come if the other girls confronted her. Indeed, it works as Mary begins to wither, Proctor becomes more animated, causing Hathorne to question his veracity, and Abigail begins to "feel" the "cold wind" and in the process, begins the process of marginalizing Mary, causing her to fall apart in front of the court.  In this, Abigail accomplishes her end purpose of punishing those who cross her and the judges are able to disprove Mary's testimony.

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