The word theocracy comes from the Greek word “theos” which means God, and the word “cracy” which means law (Dictionary.com). A theocratic government is one “in which a God, or a god, is recognized as the supreme civil ruler and in which the religious authorities rule the state as God’s, or a god’s representatives” (World Book Dictionary). In Salem, the reverend ruled and guided the citizens under the representation of God, and in Miller’s novel The Crucible, Reverend Parris rules the community, acting as God’s channel to the citizens of Salem Village.
Individuality in Puritan society was very dangerous because thinking differently threatens the whole base of the theocratic system. In order to suppress the individuality of the community, the citizens were granted minimal personal freedoms. Basic human rights and freedoms such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to think freely, the right to due process, and the right to spend their time freely were not granted to the people of Salem. These freedoms were taken away in order to keep them on the path of the “straight and narrow” and to suppress any individualistic tendencies.
Freedom of speech is a luxu...
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...ap me for contempt of a hearing .
DANFORTH. Oh, it is a proper lawyer! Do you wish me to declare this court in full session here?—or will you give me a good reply?
COREY. I cannot give no name, sir, I cannot…
DANFORTH. You are a foolish old man. Mr. Cheever begin the record. The court is now in session. I ask you, Mr. Corey…
Danforth, using his powers for evil rather than for good, manipulates the rules of the court so that he can condemn more people to witchcraft (Act III).
Threatening to obliterate the theocratic society, individuality and free thinking were oppressed. In Arthur Miller’s novel The Crucible, Miller illustrates the dangers of Puritan theocracy: where personal freedoms are oppressed, cruel and unusual punishments are implemented, and where the leaders can manipulate the holy books and laws to rule with unrestricted power in the name of the divine.
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