Abuse Of Power Crucible Essay Introduction

Abigail Williams, who becomes revered throughout the community, begins to abuse her power throughout the play by threatening the other girls and continually accusing innocent citizens of witchcraft. After the girls initially get caught dancing in the forest, Abigail realizes that the other girls are timid and afraid of the repercussions. Abigail abuses her power by telling them,

"Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other...

Abigail Williams, who becomes revered throughout the community, begins to abuse her power throughout the play by threatening the other girls and continually accusing innocent citizens of witchcraft. After the girls initially get caught dancing in the forest, Abigail realizes that the other girls are timid and afraid of the repercussions. Abigail abuses her power by telling them,

"Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you. And you know I can do it; I saw Indians smash my dear parents’ heads on the pillow next to mine, and I have seen some reddish work done at night, and I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down!" (Miller, 20)

Later on in the play, Abigail does not hesitate to set up Elizabeth Proctor and even accuses Mary Warren of colluding with the Devil by saying,

Oh, Mary, this is a black art to change your shape. No, I cannot, I cannot stop my mouth; it’s God’s work I do. (115)

Thomas Putnam is one of the wealthiest citizens in Salem's community and uses the witch trials as a way to increase his property and get revenge on those who've wronged him. In Act Three, Giles Corey explains to the court officials Thomas Putnam's evil plan by saying,

If Jacobs hangs for a witch he forfeit up his property—that’s law! And there is none but Putnam with the coin to buy so great a piece. This man is killing his neighbors for their land! (96)

Deputy Governor Danforth and Judge Hawthorne both abuse their power and are unwilling to admit their court has become corrupt. In Act Four, Reverend Hale begs Deputy Governor to pardon John Proctor. However, Danforth demonstrates his abuse of power by saying,

I will not receive a single plea for pardon or postponement. Them that will not confess will hang. Twelve are already executed; the names of these seven are given out, and the village expects to see them die this morning. Postponement now speaks a floundering on my part; reprieve or pardon must cast doubt upon the guilt of them that died till now. While 1 speak God’s law, I will not crack its voice with whimpering. If retaliation is your fear, know this—I should hang ten thousand that dared to rise against the law, and an ocean of salt tears could not melt the resolution of the statutes. (129)

The Actions of Judge Danforth in The Crucible Essay

1624 Words7 Pages

In any community, the people rely on the power of law and justice to protect them. When the guardians of the law and order misuse their power it brings tragedy upon the town. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible the inappropriate actions of the character of Judge Danforth, the voice of authority of the community leads to the tragedy of social disruption of the town accompanied by breakdown in communal solidarity.

Firstly, throughout the play Judge Danforth acts with pride and arrogance. At the commencement of act III Judge Danforth voices his view on the ongoing phase of the witchcraft trials by stating that “Do you take it upon yourself to determine what this court shall believe and what it shall set aside?” (Miller 85). Here Danforth…show more content…

His reply is accompanied with a vindictive nature towards anyone who opposes the actions of the court or by extension, him. Therefore, his arrogance and pride restrains him from listening to others point of view. Lastly, despite hearing about the mass opposition and rebellion at the Andover witchcraft trials, Judge Danforth refuses to postpone the hangings and orders Reverend Parris that “Now hear me, and beguile yourselves no more… Postponement now speaks a floundering on my part.” (Miller 129). Danforth arrogantly waves off the request of postponement made by Hale and Parris. He thinks that the act of postponement of the hangings will raise the issue of his credibility as a judge. Danforth’s pride of his status as a judge denies him from giving it a thought that his actions can lead to the death of innocent lives. When pride and arrogance interferes with ones wisdom the repercussions are often destructive. Judge Danforth proves this through the medium of his actions which lead to the destruction of trustworthiness in the community and brought tragedy to Salem.

Secondly, Judge Danforth’s irrationality and ignorance brings about poor decisions on his part. One of the instances where Danforth reveals his following attitude is when he denies to even look at a deposition presented by John Proctor as described by his words “ No, no, I accept no depositions” (Miller 88). John Proctor hands him a deposition signed by Mary warren, stating that

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