What do Parris and Danforth ask Mary Warren to do which she cannot do at that moment? (in Act III)

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mary Warren is asked to faint by Judge Hathorne, Reverend Parris, and Deputy Governor Danforth. Unfortunately, Mary Warren says that she cannot pretend to faint.

In Act Three, Judge Hathorne mentions that, during the proceedings, Mary Warren would routinely faint in court. Mary Warren responds by saying that she was pretending to faint, and Reverend Parris says that he witnessed Mary turn cold and shiver during the proceedings. John Proctor then interrupts and supports Mary's statement by saying that Mary and the other girls are marvelous pretenders. Judge Hathorne and Reverend Parris ask Mary to faint right now in the same manner she used to in the courtroom numerous times. Unfortunately, Mary Warren cannot pretend to faint because she is not in the hysterical atmosphere of the courtroom surrounded by the other emotional girls. As Mary Warren attempts to express how she once thought she saw spirits during the hysterical atmosphere, Reverend Parris continues to insist that Mary faint, which she is unable to do.

favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act III, Parris, Danforth, and Hathorne ask Mary Warren to faint (or pretend to faint believably). John Proctor has brought her to court to tell the truth, that the girls are only pretending to see signs of witchcraft, and that they have been lying this whole time

In order to prove that she was only pretending in court, Hathorne asks, "Then can she pretend to faint now?" Parris claims that there are no spirits attacking her now, so if there really were no spirits attacking her in court, she ought to be able to replicate her previous behavior. Her inability to faint now, to make herself turn cold as she did before, seems to confirm that she was, in fact, being attacked by spirits before and that this is what caused her to faint then. Mary tries to explain what was different before, but she is unable to do so; Danforth questions Abigail about Mary's claims nonetheless, but when Abigail threatens him, he relents.

katemschultz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mary Warren has admitted to faking the sighting of the devil, the fainting, the chills, the shaking. John Proctor brings her into the court room to prove the girls are lying, but Mary is unable to fake seeing the devil, perhaps because Abigail was their leader and was able to "act it" better than the other girls, and lead them into believing.