what is the literal meaning of this quote
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Reverend Hale tells Goody Proctor this near the end of act 3. Hale, in a fit of desperation, has quit the court. Hale understands the court doesn't seek to find evil rather than condemn innocent people. The court needs to find "witches" to justify its own existence. Judge Danforth is upset that Hale has returned and is talking to the prisoners. Hale is trying to convince the prisoners to confess to the court in order to save their own life. Hale tells Goody Proctor that he feels deeply guilty about what he has been a part of.