Before John Proctor and Rebecca Nurse mount the gibbet in act four, Reverend Hale desperately pleads with Deputy Governor Danforth to postpone the hangings or pardon the accused citizens in order to avoid inciting a rebellion. Danforth realizes that he is taking a great risk by executing such prestigious community members but remains resolute and refuses to compromise. Danforth tells Hale that twelve citizens have already been executed, and the town expects the same thing to happen to John Proctor and Rebecca Nurse. Danforth then says,
Postponement now speaks a floundering on my part; reprieve or pardon must cast doubt upon the guilt of them that died till now (Miller, 129).
Danforth desires to appear strong and resolute as the court's leading authority figure. He is selfishly concerned about his own reputation and does not want to be viewed as weak or uncertain. Danforth also knows that pardoning the accused citizens will cast doubt on the previous proceedings, where innocent people were publicly executed. Rather than compromise and accept responsibility for the previous executions, Danforth stubbornly refuses to budge and says that he is willing to execute "ten thousand that dared to rise against the law." Overall, Danforth refuses to pardon Proctor, Nurse, and Corey because he does not want to be viewed as weak or cast doubt upon the previous executions.