In "The Crucible" Act 3, what happens when people criticize the court proceedings?

Expert Answers
mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Any time anyone in the courts attempts to criticize the proceedings, the judges turn on them, and accuse them of attempting to "overthrow the courts."  Then, the person is then questioned aggressively, and often arrested.

This can be seen as Proctor, Francis and Giles attempt over and over again to save their wives and friends.  The first thing they do is present a petition that was signed by nearly 100 people attesting to the "righteous" character of some women that had been arrested as witches.  Instead of looking at the petition and realizing it as a powerful testament of the character of these women, the judges are suspicious that everyone that signed the petition was trying to undermine their authority.  Parris tells the judges,

"I think you will want to know, from each and every one of them, what discontents them with you!"

So, all the people who signed the petition are arrested for questioning.

The judges not only arrest those petitioners, but they also turn and arrest Giles Corey when he refuses to give the name of the witness that can prove Putnam is "killing his neighbors for their land."  Instead of giving credence to a very weighty claim that gets to the heart of many accusations--proof that actually relates to the cases at hand--they arrest the man giving the good evidence.

Later, as Mary Warren tries to prove the girls are frauds, they turn on her, then, they turn on Proctor as he tries to prove his case.  What can we learn here?  Don't ever try to do anything that might make what the courts have done look foolish; if you do, you will be arrested and questioned.  Just sit down, be quiet, and let them hang people.

I hope that those thoughts help a bit; good luck!