Mistaken Identity in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

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Mistaken Identity
Throughout history, the power to decide one’s fate has been given to those with the utmost ethical and moral beliefs. However, often times there are flaws in the system and the miscarriage of justice, where the innocent are deemed guilty, occur. Those sentenced with wrongful convictions affect the lives of their loved ones and tarnish the society’s reputation. In The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, Danforth is most responsible for the tragedy in Salem because he allows his personal characteristics to take precedence over his professional duty. Danforth allows the trials to continue under fake pretense and therefore justice is not brought forward.
Danforth’s convergent thinking causes him to make biased conclusions through his analysis of crucial information, which costs innocent lives. Danforth states that the “voice of Heaven is speaking through the children” (Miller 88) and that he has “not the slightest reason to suspect that the children may be deceiving” him (Miller 91). At the very beginning, Danforth believes in the witchcraft that was occurring within Salem because it is being spoken through the children, who he believes are the “voice of Heaven”. This belief becomes troublesome as it influences Danforth to make biased judgement on those who are accused of being involved with witchery instead of finding the truth. He is unable to see the truth, which is ironic because he has a position of power in a court trial where the purpose is to seek the truth and protect innocent people, but Danforth in the end constantly accuses the innocents of being associated with the devil. Furthermore, Danforth’s convergent thinking is evident when he argues with Hale about whether or not John Proctor is righteous and screams, ...

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...o most influential and perhaps pure in the village of Salem.
Danforth allows his personal characteristics to influence and conflict with his personal judgement, resulting in him being the most responsible for the tragedy of Salem. His narrow mind causes him to give bias judgement and analyze crucial information poorly. In addition, his fear of losing his reputation causes him to continue pursuing incorrect accusations that he sentences in order to prove he was right. Finally, his misuse of power causes the people in Salem to be afraid of him, therefore becoming too scared to bring evidence forward. In conclusion, the power to decide one’s faith was given to the wrong individual because he lacks the ethical beliefs and because of this, the miscarriage of justice occurs.

Works Cited

Miller, Arthur. The Crucible: A Play in Four Acts. New York: Viking, 1953. Print

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