Over and over in Act III, Danforth says that the good have nothing to fear. What evidence in terms of characters can you give to show that the opposite is true?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would say that Francis Nurse would be one example that proves Danforth's words as false.  At the instant he presents Danforth's court with the 91 signatures on the petition that attests for the innocence of his wife, Giles' wife, and Elizabeth Proctor, Francis recognizes that he has brought more harm to them as Danforth demands that they be brought forth for interrogation.  In this, Nurse recognizes that the good people that signed the petition have plenty of fear.  Francis Nurse pleads with the court that they not be interrogated, and this is to no avail.  I think that Corey is another example of this.  Giles Corey refuses to give the name of his informant about Putnam because he knows what will happen.  Corey mentioned his wife's reading habits to Hale in passing and she was imprisoned.  He recognizes before most that there mere mention of a name to the court brings "harm" to them.  In this, Danforth's words are completely repudiated. Corey's stance of silence, a position of goodness and altruism, is punished by death at the hands of the court.  This one element seems to undercut much of Danforth's words. The politicized nature of the proceedings are ones where personal agendas and control is consolidated.  In such a setting, there is nothing but fear for those who are brought forth to the court.  For its part, the court is not even remotely concerned with bringing out the quest for truth and justice, but rather seeks to fulfill individual goals and personal agendas. Accordingly, little can save the good from a painful experience,a major theme of the work.

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