Arthur Miller's The Crucible

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Arthur Miller's The Crucible The Deputy Governor Danforth is an interesting character in Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible". His character is complex and his role in the play is open to interpretation. It is clear that Danforth is not only misguided but deliberately ignores any evidence that casts doubt on the stories of Abigail Williams and the other girls. Danforth is a religious, respected man who is two positions down from the King. This means that he should be respected, and is by many. Yet, his judgements are contradicted by other characters, such as Reverend Hale, who believes that Danforth is unfair. Danforth is mentioned for the first time in the play in Act Two by Elizabeth Proctor. She says of how important he is. The following quote displays this, "Aye, it is a proper court they have now. They've sent four judges out of Boston, she says, weighty magistrates of the General Court, and at the head sits the Deputy Governor of the Province." This is said by Elizabeth Proctor to John Proctor. John's reaction being, "(astonished) Why, she's mad." These small extracts show how people feel about having such an important person leading the trials. In the opening of Act Three we learn that Danforth has sentenced seventy-two people to hang, just as it was said that he would in Act Two by Elizabeth Proctor. And nearly four hundred people have been sentenced to jail. Already we can see that Danforth does not falter. He gets on with what he is supposed to do with no hesitation. Also at the beginning of this Act, Miller makes it clear that Danforth is very conscious of his own reputation and authority; he asks Francis Nurse. "Do you know that near to four hundred are in jail… upon my signature… and seventy-two condemned to hang?" By putting this at the start of the Act, Miller may be trying to get the idea that Danforth is proud of his reputation, and may use it to prove that he is right and whoever is opposing him is wrong.

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