• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Write about the character of Danforth and his exercise of his judicial powers in Salem.

Extracts from this document...


Write about the character of Danforth and his exercise of his judicial powers in Salem. Danforth, the Deputy Governor of the province of Massachusetts, represents the combined authority of the church and the state in the theocratic society of Salem. He is indeed a powerful man, but a powerful man in a very difficult situation. The community of Salem have been stirred into paranoia, superstition and malice as accusations of witchcraft hit them hard. However with the deaths of so many resting on his signature how is Danforth putting into effect his judicial powers in the community? We first hear of Danforth in Act Three of the play and it is at this point when his true character begins to emerge. In the stage directions it says: "On his appearance silence falls. Danforth is a grave man in his sixties, of some humour and sophistication that does not, however interfere with an exact loyalty to his position and his cause." The fact that everyone is silent when he enters shows the authority he holds over them and how powerful he is. It furthermore gives an idea of his serious and threatening manner, which will be shown later on in the play. It also describes to the reader before Danforth is even on stage that he is bound tightly to his work and that he is obviously keen that no one undermines what he says. ...read more.


He never attempts to look at probabilities, or weigh the defendants' motives. This again shows how narrow-minded he is. There are other instances when he also misuses his power. Two of these occur when he acts in a callous and highhanded manner with those accused of witchcraft. He bullies Mary Warren into changing her evidence and also arrests those who are simply the witnesses to the good character of the accused. When he terrifies Mary Warren who is only a "timid girl" it is said in the stage directions that he "pounds it into her". He says: "You have seen the devil, you have made compact with Lucifer have you not?" By shouting at her, it could well have scared her into changing her evidence. This is an example of injustice. Danforth manipulates a witness and the legal procedure to suit his purpose. This gives the impression that he is a malicious and cruel man who never thinks of others before himself. Danforth then does a similar thing however in this case with Elizabeth Proctor. He puts her in a difficult situation where she is torn between her husband and telling the truth. In the end she lies for the love of her husband. It was wrong of Danforth to do this as it meant that the evidence was not true. This shows how manipulative he is as he is able to use his powers to alter what people say to suit his purpose. ...read more.


The second of these reasons would tie in with how the character of Danforth has been portrayed up until this point. If so it just shows again how the lives of others come second to his position of authority. The last time we see Danforth is when he is speaking some parting words to the prisoners who are going to be hanged. These are arrogant and pitiless. "Hang them high over the town. Who weeps for these weeps for corruption" These words only lead me to believe further that he is a proud and quick-tempered man who has little humility and no compassion. He still believes them to be guilty despite the lack of tangible evidence. All in all, in the face of a dramatic situation and in the face of disagreeing and dubious evidence Danforth has an extremely difficult job to do, yet he does nothing to stop the court proceedings when he realises he could be at fault. Danforth in fact is a striking representation of a man of intelligence and apparent humanity who refuses to admit possibilities outside the strict confines of his, version of the truth. He feels contempt for many of the foolish witch-hunters and he seems to understand people, but yet he applies the law with a rigid harshness. He almost appears to be unwilling to perceive events as they really are. Overall I believe him to be a cruel man who through being afraid to admit his own fault causes the deaths of many wrongly accused people. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Arthur Miller essays

  1. "A view from the bridge".

    This is another journey between past and present that could be the 'bridge� of the play. Alfieri is used to express other characters thoughts and opinions. He conveys their feelings and makes the audience empathize with the other characters. It is during the first scene in Alfieri's office where the main themes of the play evolve.

  2. Free essay

    "Linda: I don't say he's a great man... He's not the finest character that ...

    This may make an audience feel sympathetic towards him because he is desperate. Another example of Willy losing his dignity is at the end of the restaurant scene, when Willy is left on his own and Happy is embarrassed to call him his father.

  1. In act 3, Danforth calls Salem a swamp. But does anything good emerge from ...

    Hence the cries from Betty and Abigail I saw Goody Bibber with the Devil. I saw Goody Booth with the Devil. Goody Putnam, who is looking for someone to blame for her loss of seven babies there are wheels within wheels in this village is another example of people not being willing to accept fault in themselves.

  2. Exploring the importance of religion to the community of Salem

    Other examples of the referencing are, when in act 2 Elizabeth speaks of Abigail by saying "where she walks the crowd will part like the sea of Israel". This reference is relating to the parting of the red sea in the book of exodus when Moses led the Israelites away from Egypt.

  1. Explore the importance of religion to the community of Salem

    He accepts that he must be hung like the rest of the innocent people and so leaves Elizabeth and his children to live without him. Some of this could also be counted against Proctor though, Pride is one of the seven deadly sins and to have too much pride could

  2. Everyone has heard of the Salem witch trials, but what were they? Why did ...

    This sense of individualism led to the peoples to place their faults on things that were inside their own jurisdiction. "It was this idea combined with the strong sense of religion that influenced and nurtured the ideas of witches and witchcraft" (Brown p.

  1. How does Arthur Miller show that Salem society has the capacity for what started ...

    In act 3 Giles is found entering the courtroom while it is in session. As an excuse for his behaviour, he gives his name and the amount of land he owns, "My name is Corey, sir, Giles Corey. I have six hundred acres, and timber in addition."

  2. What do we learn of Salem and three of its inhabitants in the opening ...

    The text also mentions how there is an air of paranoia around him; Parris supposedly believes that ?he was being persecuted wherever he went, despite his best efforts?. The combination of his Puritan beliefs also leads him to regard children as ?young adults?, having ?never conceived that the children were

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work