Judge Danforth's speech regarding the contents of Mary Warren's deposition is prefaced with the comment "Sit you down, children." This signifies the judge's contempt for the suspected playacting that has plagued the trials, and his frustration with the ways that the girls are wasting the court's time for what may...
Judge Danforth's speech regarding the contents of Mary Warren's deposition is prefaced with the comment "Sit you down, children." This signifies the judge's contempt for the suspected playacting that has plagued the trials, and his frustration with the ways that the girls are wasting the court's time for what may be very shallow and childish motivations (such as wanting attention, pity, or admiration).
Then he says:
Your friend, Mary Warren, has given us a deposition. In which she swears that she never saw familiar spirits, apparitions, nor any manifest of the Devil. She claims as well that none of you have seen these things either. Now, children, this is a court of law. The law, based upon the Bible, and the Bible, writ by Almighty God, forbid the practice of witchcraft, and describe death as the penalty thereof. But likewise, children, the law and Bible damn all bearers of false witness. Now then. It does not escape me that this may be devised to blind us; it may well be that Mary Warren has been conquered by Satan, who sends her here to distract our sacred purpose.
When he addresses them as "children" a second time, he emphasizes his authority over them and their immaturity. But he also shares his insight that the deposition may be the work of Satan, who has influenced Mary Warren in such a way as to cause the Judge to dismiss the charges of witchcraft and thus perhaps allow the Devil to continue his work. Mary's deposition is her honest account based on her desire to escape damnation, so it is ironic (as with so many of the other events of this historic legal debacle) that her honesty is suspected of being a lie instructed by Satan (also known as the Prince of Lies).
Mary, despite showing bravery in testifying, is ultimately weak in that she cannot stand tall against Abigail's manipulation. Abigail provokes her in front of the court, knowing that Mary will not be able to withstand the humiliation and scrutiny, so Mary joins the girls led by Abigail to once again take part in the playacting and falsehoods that condemn innocent people to death.