In The Crucible Act IV, whose presence in the jail makes Danforth upset?

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sarahc418 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Danforth is most concerned about the presence of John Proctor in jail. It has nothing to do with believing Proctor is innocent. Instead, Danforth is most concerned because of the town's attitude toward the hanging of Proctor, Nurse and Corey. Danforth is worried that an uprising could take place like in other neighboring towns.

Danforth receives strong arguments from Parris and Hale trying to convince him to stay the executions hoping that one of the three big, influential people will confess. Danforth argues that such an action will make him and the other judges look weak before the town.

Danforth hopes that if he can get a confession from Proctor, it will allay any murmurings of Proctor's innocence. Danforth then elicits the help of John's wife Elizabeth who is pregnant with their child.

However, Danforth does not get the confession from Proctor or Nurse, and they hang at the end of the play. In the afterward, it insinuates that these hangings directly lead to the downfall of the terror of the witch trials.