In the last act of the play, Reverend Parris is depicted as a timid man, who fears for his life and desperately wishes that John Proctor, Martha Corey, and Rebecca Nurse will confess to witchcraft. He fears that the citizens will rebel against the court like they did in the town of Andover if the three morally-upright citizens are publicly hanged. Parris now relies on John Proctor to confess and does not see himself as John's enemy. He wishes that Proctor would simply confess to witchcraft and save his life in order to appease the citizens. The fact that Parris relies on Proctor and is no longer a confident man hiding behind the court's authority is a dramatic change from how he behaved in act three. Parris has doubts about the court's authority and no longer feels safe as a leading authority figure in Salem. His concerns are much larger than simply being removed from his position, and he fears that he will be executed by the citizens if they rebel against the court.
The news of Abigail and Mercy Lewis's disappearance does not affect the ruling of the court because Deputy Governor Danforth is a proud, stubborn man, who believes that postponing the trials will show "floundering" on his part. Danforth also mentions that twelve people have already been executed for witchcraft and says that it would be impossible to pardon John and the others. Danforth reveals his resolute, stubborn nature by saying,
"I should hang ten thousand that dared to rise against the law, and an ocean of salt tears could not melt the resolution of the statutes" (Miller, 129).