Why does Mary Warren change her testimony and turn on John Proctor in The Crucible?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Mary changes her story because she is afraid that she will be accused of witchcraft. She realizes that the judge is putting pressure on her to stick to her story. The judge has realized that he may have been mistaken on the idea that witchcraft is so prevalent in Salem. He realizes that the girls may be lying. If he agrees to hear Mary's story, he realizes he himself will look like a fool. He is more worried about his personal reputation than he is at finding the truth of the matter at hand.

Mary is torn between doing the right thing and saving her own life. She determines that her own life is more valuable than the truth. She does not want to hang. She changes her story in order to survive. She is afraid of Abigail. She fears what she can do to sway the judge against her.

Mary gives in to the pressure of those around her who are trying to prove that witches are among them.

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