Deputy Governor Danforth

In some ways, Danforth appears similar to Reverend Hale. Both are learned and respectable men who at first seem deliberate and cautious in their approaches to the charges of witchcraft. Danforth seems to go out of his way to give everyone a fair hearing. He respects John and Giles’s right to testify on their own behalf, and in fact compliments Giles on the quality of his statement. He seems to recognize Reverend Parris as a fool and is quick to cut him off. However, like Hale, he is utterly convinced of the rightness of his mission and unwilling to entertain legitimate objections. Once carried away by the momentum of events, his reasonableness fades away and, instead of being an impartial arbiter, he becomes a kind of prosecutor. Yet, in direct contrast to Reverend Hale, he remains firm in his position throughout the play, apparently unmoved and unchanged by the suffering he has helped bring about. Even his efforts to convince John to confess seem motivated less by a desire to save his life than by concern over the perceived authority of the court over which he presides.

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