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Judge Danforth is dismayed that people actually fear his court. He believes that himself and Judge Hawthorne are guided by God and hence the innocent need not fear the proceedings. In reality Danforth validates himself through these witch hunts. The more they go on, the greater importance he still has. So Danforth has a vested interest in presiding over the hysteria. He clearly refuses to see the paranoid slanders that are being tossed back and forth. He sees the trial as proof that he is needed as an intermediary between God and the Devil. I always thought that he allows the executions to continue to keep himself in the position of power that he has become accustomed to.