Judge Danforth The Crucible Essay Reputation

Judge Danforth is an incredibly prideful man, as evidenced by the fact that anyone who tries to disprove his judgments of witchcraft is shut down, dismissed, questioned and often arrested.  He is a special judge called in from out of town, specifically to lend his expertise to the town; if someone were to prove that the girls had been lying the entire time, it would render all of his judgments ineffectual, ruin his reputation as...

Judge Danforth is an incredibly prideful man, as evidenced by the fact that anyone who tries to disprove his judgments of witchcraft is shut down, dismissed, questioned and often arrested.  He is a special judge called in from out of town, specifically to lend his expertise to the town; if someone were to prove that the girls had been lying the entire time, it would render all of his judgments ineffectual, ruin his reputation as an accurate judge, and make him the most hated man in the state.

His pride is on display in many different situations in the novel, mostly in acts three and four.  When Giles Corey tries to first present his complaintes, Danforth shushes him like a child and declares proudly,

"This is the highest court of the supreme government of this province."

He goes on to brag about his power, that

"near to four hundred are in the jails...and upon my signature...and seventy-two condemned to hang by that signature."

He is touting his power over life here, asserting his dominance and ability to, at the mere stroke of his hand, condemn people to death.

Later, when Proctor brings evidence that the girls are fake, Danforth bristles with defensiveness, drilling Proctor on his motives, worried that Proctor really wants to "undermine this court" rather than just save his wife.  After he orders the 99 petition signers to be arrested, he defends his choice, saying proudly,

"a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it...no uncorrupted man may fear this court."

He later states proudly that "I have been thirty-two year at the bar" and asks if Hale "doubts [his] justice."

All of these quotes, and many more, indicate that Danforth is a very prideful man who holds a closed, defensive, prideful court.  Unfortunately, that leads to much harm in the play. I hope that helped; good luck!

Deputy Governor Danforth

Character Analysis

Deputy Governor Danforth oversees the witchcraft trials in Salem, as well as in other parts of Massachusetts. He likes to think of himself as fair-minded, so it disturbs and angers him to discover that people fear the court. He believes that no innocent person should fear the court, and that he and Judge Hathorne are guided by God, so nobody will be punished unjustly.

As a result, he fails to examine evidence critically or to act when he could to stop the hysteria. Even at the end, when it’s obvious that the society is disintegrating, he refuses to see the role that the witchcraft trials and hangings have played in it.

Miller’s depiction of the characters of the people who prosecuted witches—like Danforth—was sometimes criticized as being too excessive. Miller agreed, but defended his depiction as adhering to the facts of history. Miller suggested Danforth was important because he helped define and defend the boundaries of society, the rules that people lived by. His character, Miller said, is driven by the idea that mankind must be protected from knowledge, an idea that Miller characterized as believing that “evil is good.”

Deputy Governor Danforth Timeline

0 thoughts on “Judge Danforth The Crucible Essay Reputation”

    -->

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *