What compromise or deal does Danforth offer Proctor in The Crucible?

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In Act III of The Crucible, Judge Danforth feels that he is in danger of losing control of the situation. Elizabeth Proctor has signed a deposition saying that she hasn't in fact seen any spirits. Furthermore, John Proctor shows no sign of relenting in his determination to go before the court and expose the witch hysteria as being based on a pack of lies.

But Danforth has invested too much of his own personal credibility in the witch-hunt; he simply cannot and will not allow his authority to be undermined. So he tries to cut a deal with John. Elizabeth has revealed that she's pregnant, and as pregnant women cannot be executed, Danforth agrees to let her live until after she has given birth, but only so long as John agrees to drop his charges against the court. Although Elizabeth has claimed to be pregnant, physical examinations have been unable to show any signs of this. That being the case, Danforth is pretty sure that Elizabeth is not really pregnant after all. So if John refuses to accept the deal—which he does—then Danforth is fairly certain that he'll be able to proceed with the planned execution.

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It is helpful if you cite a particular segment of the play when asking questions so we can most accurately assist you.

In the final scene, Danforth and Proctor do quite a bit to try to compromise. In Danforth's eyes, he needs both a verbal and signed confession. He also required that Proctor name names of people he has "seen" with the Devil. Then, he needs the confession posted to document to the public the recorded sin and redemption of a particular sinner. Proctor cannot allow himself to give all of this.

Proctor refuses to give names to Danforth. Then Danforth concedes to just accepting a written confession with Proctor's name attached at the bottom.

Danforth: You will give me your honest confession in my hand, or I cannot keep you from the rope.

Here, Danforth is no longer asking for others names, so audience members can assume that Danforth will be justifiably satisfied with just Proctor's signature and then he can live.


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