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The Crucible - What is the dramatic impact of the character of Danforth in the Crucible? How does Miller use him in the play?

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Introduction

The Crucible What is the dramatic impact of the character of Danforth in the Crucible? How does Miller use him in the play? The Crucible was written by Arthur Miller as an allegory. He wrote the Crucible at a time during a modern day witch-hunt. The witch-hunt was in the USA and was hunting communists. In 1956 Miller him self was accused of being a communist and he was brought before the house of un-American activities committee. He was found guilty in the communist beliefs. Many of Millers friend's were persecuted and being attacked for being communists, which they were not. Later in 1957 the decision was over ruled, Miller then went on to marry Marilyn Monroe but sadly divorced in 1961. In the Crucible Miller portrays the good, the bad and the evil of Salem, a small village in Massachusetts. He shows that even the most religious people can make huge, costly mistakes. Miller shows this through the actions and the words of the characters. The Crucible is told from third person point of view. The characters don't address the audience directly but obviously address each other directly. The Crucible is set in the late 17th century during the time where a series of mad witch-hunts were taking place. It is about a small minority of girls that claim that they have taken part in witchcraft activates. Because of these accusations the small town begin to search madly for these so-called witches. ...read more.

Middle

Danforth comes across in the play as being a hard man, and one not willing to change his views. He is also a prominent character in the play and one of the main judges that prosecute those accused of witchcraft. He is in charge of hearing all evidence against people, and judging them on his final conclusions. The fact that he doesn't let any one of those accused off, unless they confess, creates the impression that he a valiant man of his word and a hard man with little sympathy or any other kinder human traits. In act three is the first mentioning of Danforth. Miller includes notes about some of the characters in stage directions, and those notes of Danforth give us an instant impression about him. Miller writes; '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.' Danforth seems to criticise those who do not attend church regularly, as he is a highly religious man; he even brings religion into his arguments a lot. He seems to have lot more respect for those who he thinks are 'good Christians' who uphold and lead a Christian lifestyle. Danforth: "you are in all respect a gospel Christian?" Proctor: "I am, sir" Danforth: "such a Christian that will not come to church but once a month?" ...read more.

Conclusion

Another theme, which links us to Danforth, is his pride. He obviously has a lot of pride. He thinks of himself as a good Christian and has a lot of belief in his own personal power. He sees ant challenge on the court as an attack, therefore an attack on him. He refuses to hear defences against those accused, by whoever is trying to defend a so-called 'witch'. I think that Danforth realises that he has being wrong in some stages, because when Mary Warren challenges the truth of the accusations, he listens and probably has doubts about the charges against Goody Proctor, and later on Proctor. This shows how he does not withdraw his decision already made, as it would prove him wrong in an earlier act. He does this because he doesn't want to show any weakness or give other people the satisfaction that they have won a battle against him. Usually when people's lives are at stake a fairer trail is given. Danforth stays to his word and doesn't feel he can let anyone off any charges for which other have already been punished for. Surly a judge who believes in justice and follows a strong religion would rather lose his good reputation rather than the lives of many of innocent people? Danforth obviously does not feel this way and now shows remorse at the end of the play as he says: "let them hang high over the town. Those who weep for these weep for corruption." This shows Danforth staying to his beliefs and decisions and feels no mercy for those who were executed. ...read more.

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