Discuss the general timbre of questioning against Mary Warren in court.

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

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Overall, Mary Warren is shown in a debilitating light in court.  She is completely weakened by the line of questioning and the pressure that Proctor and the Judges place on her.  She is on edge at this point.  When Danforth points this out to Proctor, it is a sign that Mary is a shaky witness, at best.  When the other girls come into court and then implicate Mary as the leader of the witches by pretending to fall under her spell, it is too much for her to bear and she acquiesces to their wishes.  It is here where Mary cannot answer the questions from Danforth and Hathorne clearly.  She is too much torn.  She does believe, to an extent, in what Proctor has made her believe in terms of her own role in the trials, and coupled with the pressure of having to recant her testimony, she finds herself having to fend off painful and intense questions from Danforth and Hathorne, who both recognize the potential damage in their hearings if Mary recants.  They keep trying to manipulate her testimony away from a vociferous recantation.  Yet, in the end, Mary recognizes that she cannot afford to stand alone, regardless if it is for the right thing.  It is here where the pointed questioning, intended to damage her credibility regarding recantation becomes effective in that she withdraws everything and accuses Proctor of doing the devil's work.


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