Judge Danforth is Most Responsible for the Hysteria in Salem

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Arthur Miller in his play the crucible portrays many examples of interesting characters as the play unfolds. Judge Danforth was a judge serving during the witch trials in the Salem court. His character is objectified to the Salems event since he comes with on attachment to any of the characters in the situation. Danforth is unaware of any of his personalities and mannerisms. He enters the trials with the goal of giving justice but ends ups with a different one. In the end Judge Danforth comes out as the most responsible for the hysteria in Salem as he the constant force of poor judgment and one-sided opinions.

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Deputy Governor Danforth takes haste in finishing the trials thus not ensuring a fair trial to all involved. Any given execution is done in hate for fear that he will appear weak and irresolute. This is due to him relaying on the persuasion of other people and outside influence in determining his trails. He can be convinced very easily if approached in a friendly manner and adapts very quickly to a situation. He believes what he is told by the outside influence is the truth and since Danforth is an imposing person he takes it upon himself to deliver an unfair judgment. In the discussion between him and the Nurse Francis concerning the falsehood of the girls, this hasty character is brought forth.

Danforth: Mr. Nurse. Do you know who I am?

Francis: Sir, I surely do and I think you must be a wise judge to be where you are?. Danforth: And do you know upon my signature, near four hundred are in the jails? And by that same signature seventy-two condemned to hang? Francis: Your Excellency, but you are deceived, I never thought to say it to such a weighty judge. (Arthur, 80-81)

This portrays Danforth as one who relies on influence and works to please his influencers as it is clear he might have been influenced to takes sides against the girls. He ends signing the death sentences for many individuals who refuse to confess their crimes.

Additionally, Judge Danforth prevents justice in his quest to protect his reputation. In his judgment concerning the girls it appears he has dug so deep that to renounce it, he would damage his reputation. Although Danforth does finally allow John Proctor to be pardoned for his confession, he refuses the written confession. He wishes to be known as the one who got the John Proctor to confess since this was a treat to his reputation Because my name is involved! Because I sign myself to lies and lie! I cannot live without my name? I have given my soul to you; leave my name to me!(Arthur, 133). With proctor being involved directly with Danforth and his deep roots in the girls, Proctor dies with his integrity while Danforth keeps his superficial reputation. This cause hysteria to the town of Salem.In conclusion, Danforth is a picture of justice is a true villain. He sticks to the traditions as per the books and ends up in the blood of the condemned. He causes tension by hiding his poor judge of character. He secure his own actions and will not delay execution of other seven more people to protect his other earlier twelve ones and his credibility. He ends up sending innocent people to the gallows. His failure in delivering fair judgment had largely contributed in the hysteria among the residents of town of Salem.


Miller, A., & Blakesley, M. (1992). The crucible. Oxford: Heinemann Educational. Read more

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