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The deputy governor of Massachusetts presides over the Salem witch trials. He is a stern yet practical man more interested in preserving the dignity and stature of the court than in executing justice or behaving with any sense of fairness. He approaches the witchcraft trials with a strict adherence to rules and law that obscure any sense of rationality, for under his legal dictates an accusation of witchery automatically entails a conviction. Danforth shows that his greatest interest is preserving the reputation of the court when he prompts Proctor to sign a confession, thus precluding the backlash of his execution.