In Act III, what is Danforth's reaction to the document and its 91 signatures?

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

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Danforth's reaction to the document with the signatures in support of the accused is akin to his reaction to Proctor, Corey, and Francis Nurse throughout their questioning of the proceedings.  Danforth cannot separate the falsehood of the criminal proceedings with how such acknowledgement will reflect on his own state as a judge.  He consistently finds opportunity to extol the virtues of the hearings as a pursuit for truth and justice and refuses to grant that the nature of the evidence, the evidence itself, and the accusers could be disingenuous.  Danforth is not entirely persuaded by the document in support of the accused and the many signatures that Francis Nurse obtained on it.  In fact, Danforth calls for the arrest of the 91 people who signed the document in support of Elizabeth, Rebecca, and Martha.  I think that Danforth's true nature is revealed with his position on the issue, sounding more like an ultimatum than a statement of cooperation and collaboration:

a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between.

In this, Danforth is shown to be a character who will not listen to evidence or reason, so long as it undermines his court proceedings, his adjudication, or the perception of how he is in power and control.

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