Has Society Really Changed?
“A fire is burning! I hear the boot of Lucifer! I see this filth face. And it is my face, and yours, Danforth! For them to quail to bring men out of ignorance, as I have quailed, and as you quail now when you know in all your black heart’s that this is fraud. God damns our kind especially. And we will burn, we will burn together!” (Arthur Miller) (Act III Pg. 596-601) John Proctor believes that the devil (if he exists), only lives within people. Not through ghosts or spirits. Therefore, Judge Danforth portrays that the theme of evil and injustice can be an output of high power.
Judge Danforth represents the government’s complete control of the early settlers, and it shows the arrogance that many of the countries officials and leaders expressed. The arrogance that they expressed was because of the power that they knew they held. ‘“Near to four hundred are in jails… and upon my signature… and seventy-two condemned to hang by that signature…seventy-two condemned to hang by that signature.”’ (Act III Pg. 87) But during the time of the Salem witch trials, Danforth had a moment of realization. By the time that Danforth realized his mistakes, it was late. Although it wasn’t too late to do or say anything, Danforth chose not to own up. Not only because it would make the court look bad but also because Danforth is a prideful man.
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Danforth is also a very injustice man. When Proctor brings evidence to the court that the girls are falsely accusing innocent people of witchcraft, Danforth is agitated. He took a defensive stance and started to press Proctor on his motives. Danforth was worried that Proctor wanted to ‘undermine the court’, rather than just save his innocent wife’s life. A person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, no untainted man may fear this court. (Act III pg.94) You can tell Danforth was telling Proctor indirectly that he was either with the court and law or against it. His choice of wording also said a lot. He chose to say ‘he’ then ‘they’. Danforth’s choices show that he doesn’t care about the rules of court. Innocent until proven guilty was what the court was to go buy, but Danforth didn’t. He wanted the court’s image, and his to stay clean. Because the law doesn’t make mistakes. Right?
During most of the trial acts, Danforth shows of being a sociopath. But since he was so focused on law and authority, he didn’t see everything that was happening. It hadn’t hit him yet. Later during the end of act IIII, Danforth realizes that his decisions are affecting everyone. Which means that at some point Danforth had remorse, and he heard the voice in his head but in the end still decided to not listen to it. Resulting in continuing to do the wrong thing; which was continuing to hang innocent people. Miller suggested Danforth was important because he helped define the boundaries of society. The rules that people live by then and now. Danforth summarizes the idea that mankind must be protected from knowledge.
All in All, Judge Danforth did exemplify that the evil and injustice can be an output of high power. Injustice can still be seen to this day. In modern society, news reports can be seen everywhere. Due to modern technology, this allows more people to see conflicts around the world. News travel much faster than just simply knowing what is happening in your local town. Only because word gets around. Injustice can be seen on the news at all times. From court cases to racist police officers to even unfair arrests. All to most of them dealing with illegal acts and crimes. Injustice will always exist. As long as humans do because not everyone is the same, not everyone thinks or feels the same. Being the reason Danforth wants to be ‘correct’ all the time is that Danforth could get heavily criticized if he ever made a wrong decision. Why? Because he is the law and he is supposed to know between good and bad. He can’t admit his mistakes or then it would make him, the court and eventually, the law; looked down upon. For starters, Danforth is a man of law, yet he breaks the rules.
All because he was tricked by a bunch of lying bratty girls. Danforth condemned many people and found them guilty without any physical evidence of witchcraft. It would be a humiliation to the court. Humanity has always had to follow rules of some sort. But sometimes people will find a loophole when dealing with legal producers and the outcome can be unjust. They could walk away without any sort of punishment. Even when the person being accused is wrong, no one, not even the law can do anything if that vile person has played their cards correctly. Although the Salem witch trials happened during the early 1690s, to this day wrong and unjust doings on behalf of the law, still occur in modern society.… Has society really changed?