In "The Crucible", how many people have been arrested and sentenced for witchcraft by Danforth?

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rshaffer's profile pic

rshaffer | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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Although The Crucible reveals that in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 21 innocent people lost their lives, hundreds more were imprisoned upon Danforth's signature.  In addition, Danforth has condemned to death approximately 400 in the surrounding communities. 

Let's not forget that in the being of the proceedings, Danforth is doing exactly what he believes his job requires, that is to rid Salem and the world of witches and witchcraft.  However, by the time Danforth finds out that Abigail and the girls are pretending, he is already too deeply involved with condemning hundreds of innocent people of witchcraft that he cannot turn back or overturn his convictions without embarrassment and/or losing his job and reputation. 

poetrymfa's profile pic

poetrymfa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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In Act Three of The Crucible, Proctor provides Danforth with a deposition that testifies to the goodness of Elizabeth, Martha Corey, and Rebecca; this document features the signatures of ninety-one citizens of the town. Claiming that these individuals must be taken in for examination, Danforth has all ninety-one of them arrested. 

These arrests are particularly disturbing because Danforth himself has acknowledged that witchcraft is an invisible crime with only two witnesses: the victim and the witch herself. With the assumption that a witch will never implicate herself, Danforth assumes that the alleged victim's testimony must be trusted. There is no evidence to be supplied in favor of either ruling. 

All in all, by the end of the play--and leading up to the execution of John Proctor--it is noted that twelve people have been hanged for witchcraft while seven others have received the same sentence and are awaiting their execution. 

Danforth, however, has had a hand in the fate of a great deal more; he is said to have imprisoned 400 people for witchcraft in the area and to have signed the death warrants for 72 of those individuals. 

abygirlb's profile pic

abygirlb | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) eNoter

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i think it was 91 who were condemned to death in Salem but in the total surrounding areas it was like 400 or so.