In "The Crucible", why doesn't Danforth want Hale to speak to the prisioners?
Danforth does not want Hale to speak to the prisoners because he had previoiusly quit the court, indicating that the court was a fraud and that he did not want to have anything further to do with it. He sees Hale as a potential threat to his authority and as a possible troublemaker, who could start a riot or a rebellion against the court.
Hale is committed, once he returns to Salem, to getting the prisoners to confess to save their lives. He knows that they are all innocent.
Danforth is very worried in Act IV about the legitimacy of the court and how it will be perceived. In a neighboring town of Andover rebellion against the court has erupted.
Danforth is in an awkward position, Abigail and Mercy Lewis have run off with Reverend Parris's money and he has completely fallen apart. Danforth is facing a crisis.
"He is not so much concerned about the lives of those condemned as about his own reputation. He does not wish to appear weak, opening himself up to criticism of the entire proceeding. Once again, the ends justify the means. Miller himself has said of Danforth “there are people dedicated to evil in the world; that without their perverse example we should not know the good.”
"While it may have been possible to excuse Danforth’s earlier behavior as a necessary result of the authority he holds, this refusal to examine his actions for fear of losing face is abominable."