Danforth is a very authoritative character throughout the play and is often the one to regain order in times of chaos. He is a key character in the play, used by Miller to engage the audience. As he begins to believe Mary Warren that it was all lies, it gives the audience hope, and builds up the suspense leaving the audience wanting to know what will happen next.
From the very beginning of the act it is clear that due to the respect he has managed to gain and his high position in the court he is very much in control over the situation and the people. “(Looking directly at Giles): Who is this man?” as soon as he says this order is brought to the court and all the previously arguing members fall silent. This demonstrates his power and his respected position. Before he spoke, it was chaos as Giles Hale and Herrick were both fighting to be heard. Danforth has the ability to make everyone listen to him and therefore this helps him keep control over the situation. This short sentence shows his direct manner of speaking and his authority within the court. He is often concise with his speech in order to gain as much direct information as possible; this manner of speech and the speed of the person’s reply show his experience in his job. The stage directions by Miller “(Looking directly at Giles)” portray Danforth to the audience as an intimidating character. When performed it intensifies the atmosphere and show that Danforth is not someone who is easily scared. He always remains composed.
Often Danforth’s lines show the hysteria and irrationality of the situation. They are often so far from the truth that they show the audience how far this lie about witchcraft has been taken. “Now, by God’s grace, the shining sun is up” this irony shows the extent of Abigail and the girl’s power, and how they have managed to fool even the most powerful within the court. Miller uses him as contrast and to show the audience how wrong they all are.
Danforth is very clever in his...
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