The Crucible takes place in a very intolerant setting. The Puritans in Salem, Massachusetts uphold a strict theocratic society. In a theocracy, the community is governed by God and the laws revolve around what God says to be right or wrong, meaning people can be punished for sinning. Anyone who strays away from the set ideals or beliefs is punished and persecuted accordingly. The weakness in such societies is that the people in authoritative positions can become easily corrupted. In The Crucible, Arthur Miller shows how intolerance can lead to persecution through the characters of Danforth and Abigail and in his purpose for writing this play.
Deputy Governor Danforth is not a tolerant man. He does not allow outspoken behavior in his courtroom, especially if it is against the court. His dictator-like status is seen at the beginning of the trials in Salem. "This is a court of law, Mister. I'll have no effrontery here!" (Miller 1254). Danforth cannot stand any deviation from what he believes to be right and true. Throughout the play, Danforth grows more prejudiced against witches. His character is led by the words of Abigail and the other girls. "In an ordinary crime, how does one defend the accused? One calls up witnesses… But witchcraft is…an invisible crime, is it not? Therefore, we must rely upon her victims." (1255). When a finger is pointed at a supposed witch, Danforth never hesitates in questioning the accused and striving to create evidence against them. Once he accuses someone, he does not turn back. "Hang them high over the town! Who weeps for those, weeps for corruption!" (1273). As his character develops, the bigotry of Danforth becomes more apparent and can be traced from his first step into the play to his last line of the fourth act.
Persecution is not limited to only towards enemies, but can be to friends and those close to the persecutor. Abigail, the niece of Reverend Parris, is the antagonist in Miller's play, The Crucible. From the very...
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