What is the importance of Danforth in the play and how does Miller present him? – Timed conditions: 45 minutes – took 50 minutes
Danforth becomes a major character in the play even though we do not meet him until Act three, which is the pinnacle of the play. Miller uses Danforth to symbolise the blackness and corruption of this perverse justice system in Salem, which seems only to destroy innocent people in the name of God. This is a technique Miller uses so that his audience can create parallels to other groups, who have committed massacres and torture in the name of religion or politics. Here he aims to make parallels with McCarthyism and HUAC. During the McCarthyism era many were “blacklisted”, meaning they were unable to find work for many years, in other cases people were jailed. Similar to Danforth’s creating of fear in Salem HUAC created an atmosphere of terror too. Also Danforth parallels HUAC’s behaviour in which the narrow-mindedness and zeal of the government authority meant that the rights of individual people were ignored. Danforth is also demonstrative of real evil within the play as even though he realises the court is standing on a pillar of lies his determination to preserve their idea of justice is too powerful.
Right from the entrance of Danforth in Act three Miller creates an instant sense of power and authority around him: “On his appearance, silence falls… exact loyalty to his position and cause.” The mere fact that everybody instantly falls silent without a word being spoken by Danforth emphasises the power he exudes and the worth of his authority. The adjective “exact” highlights that in his view the job he has allows no margin for error; he is clearly devoted to destroying any hint of the devil he may see. However because he is so stubborn and convinced of his own authority; he will not have it questioned. He takes great pride in his name and reputation, pride being the deadliest sin.) This is clearly shown by Miller when Francis tells Danforth that he is being “deceived.” The use of this verb by Francis shocks Danforth making him see it as contempt of the court. Also Danforth starts to boast his supposed captures of witches: “four hundred are in the jails… and seventy-two condemned to hang by that signature.” The clear brutality of Danforth presents him as callous and emotionally detached. He does not seem to care that he has condemned many to die yet he seems to be very proud of his apparent achievements. His sole priority, at times, does not seem to be the hunting of the devil but instead to ensure that the court and his authority are not undermined. When Proctor first enters with Mary he cares not for the deposition instead he seems focused on whether this new found evidence (“have you given out this story in the village?”) has become public knowledge as if the village did know Danforth’s court reputation would be forever tarnished.
Criticisms of The Crucible Authors often write literature to criticize society and mankind. What this means is, authors hope that one will share his / her beliefs and try to change society s thinking. Arthur Miller, in his play The Crucible, hopes to change society. Specifically, Miller criticizes authority, chaos and / or hysteria, and malicious and sinful acts against mankind. Miller uses Judge ...
Danforth has a firm belief that “the voice of heaven is speaking through the children.” This presents the idea that everything they say is God’s dictum. This shocks the audience as we know the girls are liars and Danforth’s belief that they are the voice of God is extremely foolish and Miller presents it in a way that Danforth is seen as to be unfit as a judge. However at this point we get a sense that Danforth is only arguing for the court so as to defend his own reputation because the whole of the trials stand upon the words of these girls and if they are found out to be false; their whole system would be torn down. So hear Danforth is presented as selfish and egotistical (much like Parris) as he cares not for those who may die at his hands instead he cares only for his reputation. Miller uses fire imagery as bitter irony: “We burn a hot fire here; it melts down all concealment.” As the court is not melting down lies but instead torturing the innocent and charring all evidence of the truth. This links to the title of the play as crucibles are vessels, which contain both impure and pure things, which are then heated to ensure only the pure things are left (links to idea of purifying of souls.) However in this case it’s an ironic use as the pure items are the ones which are persecuted in this play (Rebecca and Proctor) and the impurities are left to remain with the most power.
Arthur miller was a great author who wrote many great stories about many great things including things like the crucible and the he was a very talented author doing whatever he wanted to do on his own time not worrying about anybody else and what they are doing with themselves people have no clue what they are doing you must understand the true meaning of an informative essay it is to inform the ...
Danforth is presented by Miller as extremely narrow minded: “a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it.” He sees everything as simply black and white, good and evil, God or the devil. As a representative of theocracy, he is immoveable and even when knows the truth, he refuses to sway. This sort of fanatical dogmatism is what Miller is so keen to expose and criticise and he does this through Danforth. This parallels with Miller’s trial with HUAC where if you do not side with the court, if you prefer silence to accusation, you become, in the eyes of the court guilty.
In act four Miller presents Danforth as very protective of his honour and reputation as he angers quickly when his authority or what he seeks to do in court is questioned. In Act four, everyone is fully aware that that the accusations made by Abigail were all lies and the court was being used as a cover for petty vengeances. However Danforth, the stubborn man that he is seen to be, will not let anyone challenge his authority and is determined to carry on: “There will be no postponement.” His strong sense of determination and loyalty to his cause can be quite overwhelming at times and foolish. The use of this declarative repeatedly emphasises his lack of flexibility but also his legal authority. Danforth’s speech in act four really presents him in a way that the author seems to be manipulating us into really hating him. We get a sense that Danforth has abstract notions of equality as it seems as though he argues that pardoning the rest of the accused would be unfair on the twelve already dead; seems not to care about their potential innocence. Also he’s all about the Old Testament teaching, which talks about a cruel, avenging God. This speech lacks the compassion we might expect of man who states he talks of “god’s law.” What he speaks is not godly in any way yet much more dark and devilish. Danforth even goes as far as to say he’d hang 10000 people if they dared challenge God’s laws, which makes him seem almost hysterical and also extremely callous. Danforth’s words towards Elizabeth are extremely ironic and we feel great sympathy for her and more hatred for him. He presents her as being stone: “Are you stone? A very ape would weep at such calamity.” Miller uses irony here to show that Danforth does not even realise that he is more stone than any other character in the play. He is a man incapable of feeling compassion despite his great authority to mete out mercy.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT First of all, I am grateful to the Almighty God for establishing me to complete this project. I wish to express my sincere thanks to SOTERO H. LAUREL Librarians, for providing me with all the necessary facilities and books that I need to be able to carefully analyze all the topics that have been discuss in philosophy of human existence. I also thank Professor Josefina C. Perez, one ...
Finally Miller presents Danforth’s arrogance in its entirety. Danforth is recognised as the “high court” by Proctor and it’s this fact that a man who believes he embodies the ideals and principles of the law can so determinedly hang innocent people, which shocks the audience. Danforth’s final line (“who weeps for these weeps for corruption”) has all the power and proof of his arrogance and inability to admit his mistakes. He seems to see weeping as a weakness instead of a Christian emotion of compassion. The stage directions tell us that he “sweeps out past them”, his final dismissal of a court and people he considers fools.