In "Crucible", when Mary Warren tells Danforth that she and the other girls made up the witchcraft stories, Danforth thinks what?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Danforth is at first "baffled" that Mary Warren should dare to make such a claim. He reminds those present that "the entire contention of the state in these trials is that the voice of Heaven is speaking through the children"; Mary's recantation will change the whole nature of the case. Danforth warns first Proctor and then Mary that "we burn a hot fire here; it melts down all concealment". He is telling them that should they choose to stick with what Mary is now saying, they will be subject to the most rigorous of questioning.

When Mary's deposition is presented, Danforth begins to wonder if Mary is under pressure from John Proctor to say that the girls are lying. He asks her three times, "Has Mr. Proctor threatened you for this deposition?", and when she remains firm, points out the consequences of lying. He tells her,

"you are either lying now, or you were lying in the court, and in either case you have committed perjury and you will go to jail for it...you cannot lightly say you lied, Mary".

Despite Danforth's cautions, Mary Warren will not change her story now, and Danforth is forced to begin a painful line of investigation in which Mary must face the other girls before the court (Act III, Scene 1).