In act three, John Proctor gives the court officials a deposition signed by ninety-one upstanding citizens who testify that Martha, Rebecca, and Elizabeth are righteous, God-fearing women. Danforth responds by stating that each person who signed the deposition should be arrested and questioned.
Francis Nurse is astonished by Danforth's reaction and believes he has brought trouble to his innocent neighbors. Danforth proceeds to demonstrate his confidence in the court and his speech contains several examples of irony.
It is ironic that Danforth tells Francis that he has not harmed his neighbors if they are "of good conscience." Danforth's statement is completely false because innocent people "of good conscience" are being forced to confess to crimes they did not commit in order to save their lives. The innocent citizens are actually the people in the most danger. It is also ironic that the accusers, who are fraudulent, selfish, and dangerous, possess the authority to doom innocent citizens.
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