The Crucible

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In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, both Deputy Governor Danforth and Reverend Hale represent two significant characters that depict the flaws and deficiencies of mankind. Both men mindlessly condemn and judge in order to rid Salem of the supposedly satanic. Both men eventually realize their hypocrisy; however, while Hale acknowledges his folly, Danforth obstinately continues to castigate the alleged to maintain his reputation. Arthur Miller, in his work, The Crucible, punctuates the rigid tenacity of Deputy Governor Danforth in comparison to the maturity of Reverend Hale by incorporating various rhetorical devices to highlight some of man’s many flaws still present in society today. Danforth is portrayed as a pious authority figure speaking “God’s law” as he thoughtlessly censures the convicted heathens in Salem (Miller 1324). He ironically defies his own belief of Christianity through his blatant judging and cruel hanging of the innocent. His actions are the antithesis of “God’s Law”, as Christian scriptures state, “Thou shall not judge” and “Thou shall not kill” (The Bible). Danforth’s undeniable indifference towards his own morals can be seen when he, even after substantial evidence is presented to him, favors the hanging of innocent people over the tarnishing of his own reputation. Danforth asserts to Hale, “[…] the village expects to see them die this morning. Postponement now speaks a floundering on my part” (1324). Danforth’s justification for flagrantly ignoring basic Christian beliefs is so that he can remain on top of the social ranking. He fears that if he releases the condemned he will look like a weak fool in front of the whole town, thus sullying his prestigious reputation. Man’s value towards preserving one’s reputation is held higher than one’s own beliefs and morals, which is a pressing issue present in today’s society. Danforth’s actions directly mirror man’s insecure, self-conscious mindset when one’s reputation is at stake. Deputy Governor...
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