Shadowed Judgement: Why the Salem Witch Trials Were Led by Selfish Men

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Shadowed judgment: Why the Salem witch trials were led by selfish men. Judge Danforth, Hawthorne and Parris all have one thing in common. They resist the evidence that Proctor and Giles gives them due to their own personal follies. Whether it is for pride, greed, or power, their names will grow in reputation for all of it. All three of these men have unethical reasons for ignoring all of the evidence against the Salem witch trials that they think will result in their own personal gain.

Judge Danforth is the man with all of the power who wants to keep an honorable name. He has already sent several people to their deaths by the rope and it’s too late to turn back for him. Being a judge of the region, if he were to make any mistake it would be him to blame completely. He needs a perfect name to be a judge of god or else he is out of the job, and out of a known and popular reputation. If he were to lose his reputation then he would begin to lose his power, which seems very important to him. For example, In act three during the hearing of Proctor and Giles Corey against the claims of witchery in Salem, Danforth makes a point about his powerful position saying to Proctor ,‘”Do you take it upon yourself to determine what this court shall believe and what it shall set aside? . . . .This is the highest court of the supreme government of this province, do you know it?'" Analyzing this, it seems that Danforth has the power to put people to their deaths and decide the fate of others, and he likes it. In fact he makes frequent demonstrations of his power throughout the play, at one point he asserts rhetorically, “Near to four hundred are in the jails from Marblehead to Lynn, and upon my signature...and seventy-two condemned to hang by that signature.” One of the biggest reasons for him to resist and decline the evidence again the trials is his own selfishness and pride because his power of life and death has consumed him. A selfish man that is willing to send a thousand...
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