Why does Proctor say that himself and Danforth are huge sinners?

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

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In Act III, Danforth describes the trial and all that comes out of it as a "swamp."  This is significant because, by the end of the Act, Proctor and Danforth are both trapped in a swamp or mire- like condition whereby there is real significant emotional underpinnings.  Proctor's confession in court is motivated by a need to end all of the lies and deception that have shrouded the court and its supposed pursuit of justice and truth.  It is here where Proctor feels that Danforth is a huge sinner.  Proctor believes that the fraudulent nature of the court is something for which Danforth has to assume large responsibility.  Danforth's court is nowhere near the search for truth and justice, as it has empowered people like Abigail to be its guiding force, with others like Parris looking for opportunities to increase his own power.  At the same time, people like Francis Nurse and Giles Corey are immediately punished for simply being.  In the end, Proctor can no longer accept such hypocritical demonstrations.  While it is evident that Proctor has accepted his own condition of sin, he is also ready to indict others for their own hypocrisy and inauthenticity, and in here, Proctor speaks towards Danforth and the court, in general.


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