In The Crucible, why does Giles not reveal his witness?

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In act 3, Giles Corey presents a deposition stating that an anonymous, trustworthy citizen overheard Thomas Putnam telling his daughter to accuse George Jacobs of witchcraft, which proves that Putnam is using the witch trials to acquire more land. If a citizen confesses to witchcraft, the Salem authorities have the...

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In act 3, Giles Corey presents a deposition stating that an anonymous, trustworthy citizen overheard Thomas Putnam telling his daughter to accuse George Jacobs of witchcraft, which proves that Putnam is using the witch trials to acquire more land. If a citizen confesses to witchcraft, the Salem authorities have the right to take their land and sell it to another person who can afford the property. Thomas Putnam is the only man rich enough in Salem to continuously buy foreclosed land and is using his daughter to aid him in his land grab. Whenever Judge Hathorne insists that Giles Corey tell him the name of the citizen who overheard Thomas Putnam, Giles says,

Why, I cannot give you his name...You know well why not! He’ll lay in jail if I give his name!

Essentially, Thomas Putnam is aware that if he were to disclose the name of the citizen who wrote the deposition, that person would be thrown in prison. Giles Corey demonstrates his loyalty and integrity by refusing to tell Hathorne the name of the person who overheard Thomas Putnam telling his daughter to accuse George Jacobs. Unfortunately, Giles Corey is arrested for contempt of court and eventually is executed by Salem's authority figures.

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Quite simply, Giles is a man of honor. He knows as soon as he reveals his witness to the fact that Thomas Putnam is killing his neighbors for their land that he will be next on the list of people to be killed.

Giles claims that the man had heard Putnam say that was what he was doing. When asked specifically why Giles refuses to reveal his witness Giles claims:

You know well why not! He'll lay in jail if I give his name!

Giles knows this from experience. Just asking the question about what his wife's reading meant landed her in jail. He recognizes the flaw in the courts and he tells them their flaw. Giles took great shame in what they did to his wife. He feels he will go to hell and he couldn't have another person's soul on his conscience if he gave a name this time.

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