What approaches do Matthew and Dr. Bulkeley use to testify in Kit's defense in "Witch of Blackbird Pond"?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Matthew Wood attempts to testify as a character witness.  Although he admits that Kit is "thoughtless and headstrong at times", he knows she is a good girl at heart and certainly no witch.  When the Magistrate asks him if he is "willing to vouch for (his) niece's good character", he responds without hesitation that he will.  When he tries to tell the court that Kit, by virtue of the kind of person she is could not be guilty of the crimes for which she is being accused, his meaning is twisted, and he becomes frustrated.  In "steely anger", he declares emphatically at the end of his testimony, "You can twist what I say as you will...but I swear before all present, on my word as a freeman of the colony, that the girl is no witch".

Dr. Bulkeley takes a more legalistic approach in his testimony.  He cautions, "In my opinion...it is necessary to use the greatest caution in the matter of testimony".  He points out that since each of the accusations given to this point "rest...upon the word of but one witness, the legality of any one of them is open to question".  Dr. Bulkeley does not speak directly in Kit's behalf as does Matthew, but he uses his astute legal mind and calm, level-headed demeanor to direct the course of the trial so that fairness and truth prevail (Chapter 19).

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The Witch of Blackbird Pond

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