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As the trials progress, Danforth realizes that Abigail Williams and the rest of the girls are duping the court and community (perhaps he knew even from the beginning of the proceedings but chose to move forward). When Abigail Williams absconds with her uncle's money, Danforth knows that he can no longer ignore any doubts he might have had about Abigail's integrity. This knowledge forces him to decide privately if he will continue with the trials and executions because that is what the privileged in the community desire and because if he stops the trials, then people will question his credibility and the justice of all previous sentences/judgments. If Danforth proceeds with the trials, as a religious scholar, he surely recognizes the personal spiritual danger in sentencing innocent people to death; unfortunately, in the play as well as in real life, he and the other judges allow their pride to rule their actions, and they refuse to postpone or stop the trials as soon as they are aware of Abigail's running away.
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