In "The Crucible", Danforth says he tries to be honest and assumes nothing, but then makes a comment about children. What does he say?

Expert Answers
dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Danforth claims to be honest and impartial, harboring no assumptions; he states unequivocably, "I judge nothing".  Yet, he goes on to say, "I have seen marvels in this court...I have until this moment not the slightest reason to suspect that the children may be deceiving me".  A short while earlier, he asserted that "the entire contention of the state in these trials is that the voice of Heaven is speaking through the children".  Dansforth seems to have a preconceived notion that children are innocent, and cannot help but speak the truth, a belief that is at odds with his contention that he is free of bias.

Proctor challenges Danforth's perception that children do not lie by pointing out that, no matter how you look at it, one or some of the children are lying in this case.  He asks rhetorically, "Who tells us Rebecca Nurse murdered seven babies by sending out her spirit on them?  It is the children only, and this one will swear she lied to you".  Mary has recanted her earlier testimony, which must mean one of two things - either she is lying, or the other children are.  Proctor is arguing that Danforth's belief in the unquestionable candidness of children not only contradicts his claim to impartiality, but is also, in this case at least, false (Act III, Scene 1).