In The Crucible, why is Giles Corey's informant and the people who signed the first deposition afraid of being called in to testify in court?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The deposition that Giles Corey presents to Danforth includes the account of a man who heard Putnam say that by getting his neighbour killed for a witch he would be able to buy the land at a cheaper price. However, when pressurised by Danforth to give the name of his witness, Giles Corey refuses. It is easy to understand why he is so unwilling to give the name, as he has already mentioned the name of his wife before and she has been jailed as a result. Note how he explains his refusal to give the name of his witness to Danforth:

I will not give you no name. I mentioend my wife's name once and I'll burn in hell long enough for that. I stand mute.

The witch trials have advanced so far by this stage of the play that to even have your name mentioned as questioning them is enough to send you to jail directly for questioning. This is of course something that makes it very difficult for John Proctor, Giles Corey and Francis Nurse to oppose what is happening.

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cav13976's profile pic

cav13976 | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) eNoter

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Because they fear that in the Witch hysteria that if they do they will be accused of witchcraft.

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