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What evidence do Francis, Giles, and John have that the girls are lying?

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nicoheato | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 14, 2012 at 2:36 AM via iOS

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What evidence do Francis, Giles, and John have that the girls are lying?

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

Posted December 15, 2012 at 2:18 PM (Answer #1)

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For the most part in Act III, the three men offer analysis that undermines or at least forces one to examine the basis of spectral evidence that the girls have offered.  Francis Nurse's petition is a document that can serve as evidence against the girls.  It is a statement signed by 91 different people that neither Rebecca Nurse or Elizabeth Proctor are witches or engage in witchcraft.  Corey is a part of this as well, suggesting very clearly and openly that the trial is not about witchcraft.  Rather, it is about people like Putnam being able to garner more land and engineer their ability to take land from those who have been accused.  Proctor arrives with Mary Warren, one of the girls in question, to offer testimony that Abigail and the other girls are operating out of the desire for power and control and do not represent the truth.  In response to each of the mens' claims, the court offers the idea that anyone who speaks out against the court, and thus the girls' accusations, seeks to bring down the court.  This "either you are with us or against us" mentality is how Danforth that court align themselves against the evidence and analysis that the three men in Act III offer as counter to the girls' claims of witchcraft.

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