The character of Danforth in the Crucible
When the girls are questioned, they frequently protest ‘I am with God’ or ‘I am with God now. ‘ Danforth seems to believe them when they say this and almost sees this as a reason of why they may be telling the truth. He seems to want to believe they are ‘with God’ although he refuses to believe it about any accused. This seems quite hypocritical. However, if he believe that any people accused were ‘with God’ and announced them innocent, he would be accusing the girls of lying.
This would mean he did not believe that they were with God. Therefore Danforth feels he has to choose someone to believe and stick to his or hers point of view.
Believing the girls, would certainly be a popular decision, at least at first, as the public would be keen to ‘carry out God’s work’ and condemn who they thought were involved in witchcraft. He shows some kind human traits, although the select conditions under which he does these, makes it seem a lot more false.
When he is talking to Goody Procter, he seems kind and respectful. When he dies this, she is already a condemned woman, and this may be for his own gain, as he is trying to get Procter to confess. He may not be convinced of Goody Procter’s guilt, which brings in another theme often linked to Danforth, which is pride.
Danforth obviously has a lot of pride. He has a lot of belief in his personal power, and obviously thinks of himself as a good Christian. He sees any challenge against the court as an attack on the court, and therefore an attack on him. He refuses to hear defense against those accused without seeing it as an attack, or a sign of witchcraft in whoever is defending a ‘witch’. When Mary Warren challenges the truth of the accusations, he listens, and probably has doubts about the charges against Goody Procter, and later on, Procter.
He does not withdraw any decision already made, however, as that would prove himself wrong before, and show weakness now. Judge Danforth feels he cannot let anyone off any charges for which others have already been punished. This is very moral in a sense, but usually when people’s lives are at stake a fairer trial is given. Surely a judge believing in justice would rather lose his good reputation than the lives of innocent people? Danforth obviously does not feel this way and becomes hard, showing now remorse at the end of the play as he says: ‘Let them hang high over the town. Those who weep for these weep for corruption. ‘
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