What does Hale ask Parris about those who attack the courts and Parris' ironic response?  

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Many of the characters in Arthur Miller's play The Crucible are out for revenge. A character, once accused or singled out, tended to vehemently deny or move the focus upon another. Many of the characters were worried about their own reputation throughout the play.

When Proctor presents a document (petition) to the court which is signed by ninety-one people stating the good character of his wife (Elizabeth), Rebecca Nurse, and Martha Corey, Parris states that the petition is an attack upon the courts. (Perhaps Parris, already angry at Proctor for trying to ruin his reputation, makes this accusation to turn the negative attention back onto Proctor.) Hale, angered at Parris' accusation, asks Parris if every defense brought to the courts (on the behalf of any of the accused) is an attack upon the courts.

Hale, at this point in the play, still fails to understand the hysteria which has erupted in Salem and the accusations being thrown around haphazardly. Hale, in the end, quits the courts stating that he does not agree with the findings of the courts or their actions against those accused.

In the end, Danforth seems to agree with Parris given he signs warrants for the arrests of the ninety-one people who signed the petition.


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