Why is Giles Corey expelled from court? Why won't Danforth hear his evidence? Why is Giles arrested?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At the beginning of act 3, Martha Corey, Giles's wife, is being questioned in the court, as she's been accused of witchcraft. Suddenly, he bursts in, interrupting the proceedings, crying out

I have evidence for the court! [....] Thomas Putnam is reaching out for land! [....] You're hearing lies, lies!

...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

At the beginning of act 3, Martha Corey, Giles's wife, is being questioned in the court, as she's been accused of witchcraft. Suddenly, he bursts in, interrupting the proceedings, crying out

I have evidence for the court! [....] Thomas Putnam is reaching out for land! [....] You're hearing lies, lies!

Thus, Giles has interrupted the court, and for this reason, he is forced to leave it, as the marshal tells him "You cannot go in there, Giles; it's a court!" It is inappropriate to simply burst in, shouting, while someone is being questioned.

Later, when Danforth agrees to hear him, Giles explains that Thomas Putnam has had his daughter accuse George Jacobs of witchcraft so that he, Putnam, could purchase Jacobs's land when Jacobs was convicted. Giles says,

I have it from an honest man who heard Putnam say it! The day his daughter cried out on Jacobs, he said she'd given him a fair gift of land.

However, Giles refuses to provide the name of this man who claims to have overheard Putnam because he knows that the man will be arrested, as the friends of Francis Nurse will be. Giles says, "He'll lay in jail if I give his name!" For this refusal to provide the man's name, Deputy Governor Danforth holds Giles in contempt of the court. Shortly thereafter, he is officially arrested for this reason.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the court, Corey accused Putnam of trying to take his and George Jacobs' land. In the middle of this, John Proctor presents a petition from different townspeople that supports Elizabeth, Rebecca Nurse and Martha Corey. Danforth accused Proctor of trying to undermine the authority of the court.

At that point, Danforth orders the arrest of all the people who signed the petition. Then Abigail tries to distract the court by saying she sees a big bird representing the spirit of Mary Warren. Proctor has had enough and admits to adultery with Abigail, but when Elizabeth is brought in, she denies that affair between her husband and Abigail in order to protect her husband. After this, Danforth has had enough and orders both Proctor and Corey arrested. 

It is obvious at this point that Danforth is more interested in protecting the court and his own reputation than finding the truth. This can be seen by Reverend Hale's reaction. He criticizes the trials and leaves the court.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on