How is Giles’ deposition turned against him in The Crucible?

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Giles Corey comes to the court with Francis Nurse and John Proctor. All three men have wives that have been accused, and beyond their desire to exonerate them, they want to try to get the magistrates to consider what might be driving the spurious accusations that have resulted in so many arrests.

When Judge Danforth reads Giles's deposition, he tells Thomas Putnam, "He states that you coldly prompted your daughter to cry witchery upon George Jacobs that is now in jail." Putnam denies Giles's accusation, and when Giles is pressed for proof he says, "I have it from an honest man who heard Putnam say it! The day his daughter cried out on Jacobs, he said she'd given him a fair gift of land." When he is pressed by the judges to give the name of the man who heard Putnam, Giles will not cooperate. He understands that the man will be brought to the court and likely arrested, and Giles does not want that on his conscience.

Because Giles is steadfast in his refusal to name the man, he is arrested for contempt of court and subjected to torture. He ultimately dies at the hands of the corrupt officials who attempt to literally press the truth from him.

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Giles Corey's deposition states that Mr. Putnam told his daughter, Ruth, to accuse George Jacobs of witchcraft so that Putnam could buy his land (which would go up for auction upon Jacobs's conviction).  Corey says that "none but Putnam [has] the coin to buy so great a piece."  When Danforth asks for proof, Corey points to his deposition and says, "The proof is there!  I have it from an honest man who heard Putnam say it!"  However, Corey will not tell Danforth the name of this "honest man" because he knows the man will end up in jail if he reveals his identity in front of Putnam.  Danforth believes, though, that if he were a "decent man," he would come openly to the court with his evidence; if he would "hide in anonymity," then Danforth believes that he has other motives in accusing Putnam of being "a common murderer."  When Corey continues to refuse to give the name, Danforth arrests him "in contempt of court" and threatens him with jail.

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