Explain how, in Act 3 of "The Crucible," how characters are able, or not able, to defend themselves against the charges.
"In an ordinary crime, how does one defend the accused? One calls up witnesses to prove his innocence. But witchcraft is ipso facto, on its face and by its nature, an invincible crime, is it not? Therefore, who may possibly be witness to it? The witch and the victim. None Other. Now we cannot hope the witch will accuse herself; granted? Therefore we must rely upon the victims-- and they do testify, the children certainly do testify. As for the witches, none will deny that we are most eager for all their confessions." (100)
With references to the play, explain how an individual can or cannot defend himself or herself from such an accusation.
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According to that reasoning, you cannot defend yourself against that sort of accusation. Consider all the ways that, in Act 3, the characters tried to disprove the accusations: The petition brought to the courts stating the Christian character of the women accused, Giles' testimony against Putnam, John's confession of adultery to try to disprove Abigail's testimonies, and even Mary attempting to discredit her friends. None of that "other evidence" worked, and all else was overridden when Abigail started crying spirits in the room. And as soon as Mary turned on John, saying he had come to her as a witch to turn her to Satan (very end of Act 3), the courts believed her above all else. Even Elizabeth knowing her commandments (Act 2), and Rebecca Nurse being revered as almost saintly (look at Hale's greeting to her in Act 1) did not provide evidence against accusation.