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Already, there have been twelve hangings with another seven scheduled to take place. Though having found that Abigail has run off with her uncle's (Reverend Parris) money, thus making it clear that she was in fact guilty of lying about being bewitched and about her accusations against others in town, Danforth knows that turning back on their initial stance against believed and, according to him during the trials, "proven" cases of witchcraft would result in nothing more than loss of credibility on their part before the opinions of the town. Postponing any further hangings would be like giving in and admitting their error. At this point, though, with so many who have already died, the families of the hanging victims would come down upon the courts with such hatred that complete anarchy could ensure, forcing Danforth and the other officials into very compromising situations. Parris makes this concern clear to Danforth when he states, "I fear there will be riot here" (Act IV).
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