PROCTOR: Mary, tell the Governor what they—(He has hardly got a word out, when, seeing him coming for her, she rushes out of his reach, screaming in horror.)
MARY WARREN: Don't touch me—don't touch me! (At which the girls halt at the door.)
PROCTOR, astonished: Mary!
MARY WARREN, pointing at Proctor: You're the Devil's man!
He is stopped in his tracks.
PARRIS: Praise God!
GIRLS: Praise God!
PROCTOR, numbed: Mary, how—?
MARY WARREN: I'll not hang with you! I love God, I love God.
DANFORTH, to Mary: He bid you do the Devil's work?
MARY WARREN, hysterically, indicating Proctor: He come at me by night and every day to sign, to sign, to—
DANFORTH: Sign what?
PARRIS: The Devil's book? He come with a book?
MARY WARREN, hysterically, pointing at Proctor, fearful of him: My name, he want my name. "I'll murder you," he says, "if my wife hangs! We must go and overthrow the court," he says!
Danforth's head jerks toward Proctor, shock and horror in his face.
PROCTOR, turning, appealing to Hale: Mr. Hale!
MARY WARREN, her sobs beginning: He wake me every night, his eyes were like coals and his fingers claw my neck, and I sign, I sign...
HALE: Excellency, this child's gone wild!
PROCTOR, as Danforth's wide eyes pour on him: Mary, Mary!
MARY WARREN, screaming at him: No, I love God; I go your way no more. I love God, I bless God. (Sobbing, she rushes to Abigail.) Abby, Abby, I'll never hurt you more! (They all watch, as Abigail, out of her infinite charity, reaches out and draws the sobbing Mary to her, and then looks up to Danforth.)
DANFORTH, to Proctor: What are you? (Proctor is beyond speech in his anger.) You are combined with anti-Christ, are you not? I have seen your power; you will not deny it! What say you, Mister? (III.496-519)
Though we, the audience, are aware that the categories of “good” and “evil” have gotten terribly mixed up in this play, Mary is faced with a life-or-death situation. If she does what is really “good” she will die by those who hold the power and declare it “not good”; if she does what is wrong—if she lies—she joins those with power who declare that this is, indeed, good.
No wonder many people chose to confess and align with powerful forces. According to the play, young people in particular are susceptible to this weakness.