In The Crucible, Danforth assumes that Proctor will stop fighting the court if Elizabeth’s trial is delayed for one year. Why does Proctor refuse to back down?

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thetall | (Level 3) Educator

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Danforth delayed Elizabeth’s trial for a year hoping that Proctor would stop challenging the proceedings. However, Proctor continued challenging the proceedings because he was sure they were all but a sham. Everyone who had been convicted was innocent and Abigail, together with the other girls, was being used to settle old scores among members of the community.

Proctor was fully aware that Abigail was seeking Elizabeth’s death so she could replace her as his wife. He also understood that Parris was taking the opportunity to point an accusing finger to those he considered his enemies. On the other hand Putnam wanted to appropriate Giles’s property through the witch hunt. He knew he was also a target of the prosecution and finally when he was implicated he chose to die rather that soil his name by confessing to witchcraft, which was a lie.

Thus from the onset, Proctor had no option but to oppose the proceedings because they were based on falsehoods and they attacked people he considered dear to him.

Danforth: Will you drop this charge?

Proctor: I - I think I cannot.

Danforth, now an almost imperceptible hardness in his voice: Then your purpose is somewhat larger.

Parris: He’s come to overthrow this court, Your Honor!

Proctor: These are my friends. Their wives are also accused -

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