In contrast to these four characters stand the three main opponents of the witchcraft accusations. The Nurses are the most straightforward of these; Miller portrays Rebecca Nurse and her husband as near saints who rely on practical wisdom and experience. In contrast, Giles Corey has none of the noble character of the Nurses, yet he can oppose Parris and Putnam because of his contentious, combative manner. Giles Corey doesn't care about public opinion and has never allowed his actions to be swayed by those around him. He may therefore choose whichever position he finds most suitable, even if it places him in danger.
Proctor leaps at Abigail and calls her a whore. He confesses his affair with her and explains that Elizabeth fired her when she discovered it. He claims that Abigail wants Elizabeth to hang so that she can take her place in his home. Danforth orders Abigail and Proctor to turn their backs, and he sends for Elizabeth, who is reputed by Proctor to be unfailingly honest. Danforth asks why she fired Abigail. Elizabeth glances at Proctor for a clue, but Danforth demands that she look only at him while she speaks. Elizabeth claims to have gotten the mistaken notion that Proctor fancied Abigail, so she lost her temper and fired the girl without just cause. As marshal, Herrick removes Elizabeth from the room. Proctor cries out that he confessed his sin, but it is too late for Elizabeth to change her story. Hale begs Danforth to reconsider, stating that Abigail has always struck him as false.
Ezekiel Cheever and Herrick, the town marshal, arrive with a warrant for Elizabeth’s arrest. Hale is surprised because, last he heard, Elizabeth was not charged with anything. Cheever asks if Elizabeth owns any dolls, and Elizabeth replies that she has not owned dolls since she was a girl. Cheever spies the doll Mary Warren gave her. He finds a needle inside it. Cheever relates that Abigail had a fit at dinner in Parris’s house that evening. Parris found a needle in her abdomen, and Abigail accused Elizabeth of witchcraft. Elizabeth brings Mary downstairs. Mary informs the inquisitors that she made the doll while in court and stuck the needle in it herself.