Danforth questions Giles Corey and his reasons for entering the court without permission. He’s mystified by the suggestion that Martha Corey would be accused of being a witch simply because she reads books.
Danforth questions John Proctor’s loyalty to the church.
Danforth lets Proctor know his wife says she is pregnant and will be kept alive at least until the baby is born.
Danforth looks at the list of people who have signed their names to a proclamation declaring the good character of Rebecca, Martha, and Elizabeth. He agrees that all those people should be called before the church, a fact that horrifies Francis, as Francis promised no harm would come to them.
Danforth listens to Giles Corey explain how Thomas Putnam’s greed for land has caused him to encourage his daughter to condemn George Jacobs. But because he refuses to name his witness, Danforth refuses to accept the evidence.
When Hale suggests that it’s important for Danforth to listen to Proctor’s evidence, they have a discussion about the justice of the proceedings. Finally, he says he’ll listen.
After hearing Mary Warren’s story, Danforth calls all the girls out to see if they will admit to lying. Abigail refuses to admit it but when Proctor calls her a whore and admits that they slept together, he realizes he has a problem on his hand. He agrees to call Elizabeth out to see if she confirms her husband’s story. If she does, he tells Abigail, may God have mercy on your soul.
When Elizabeth fails to condemn her husband as a “lecher,” Danforth dismisses all the evidence.
Danforth comes to the jailhouse on the day that Proctor and Rebecca are to be put to death. He says he’ll allow them until the dawn to decide to confess or not.
When Proctor agrees to confess, Danforth demands a signed confession. He’s bewildered as to why Proctor will verbally confess but not sign his name to a written statement. He stubbornly refuses to accept the confession unless it’s signed.