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Danforth - Villain of The Crucible

            In Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible, many characters make selfish choices that hurt others, even to the extent of their deaths. The most hypocritical and damaging character is Danforth, whose unwillingness to recognize that he was wrong, and his insistence on his way of thinking meant that twenty people were executed unnecessarily. He is a villain.
             Danforth begins the trials with the opinion that there are witches in Salem. He does not question the testimony in any way. It's illogical. In today's world there needs to be proof that someone is guilty, but Danforth proceeds with the idea that if someone cannot prove he/she is not a witch, then there is guilt. "In an ordinary crime, how does one defend the accused? One calls up witnesses to prove his innocence. But witchcraft is an invisible crime, is it not? Therefore, who may be witness to it? The witch and the victim. None other." (93) This type of thinking creates a trial where the accused must prove innocence as opposed to the idea that guilt must be proved.
             Danforth came into Salem as an outsider. He was a Deputy Governor of Massachusetts and did not know the small Salem community personally. That resulted in him ignoring the townspeople who were reliable and accepting the testimony of those who might have reason to lie. Because the girls were acting out in court, he accepted those experiences as true evidence that there was witchcraft in Salem. His inability to recognize human motivation is another reason he is a villain. He actually says to Francis Nurse, after his wife Rebecca is arrested and charged with the supernatural murders of Goody Putnam's babies, "Indeed! I am amazed to find you in such an uproar. I have only good report of your character, Mr. Nurse." (80) Danforth's lack of understanding is amazing. What husband would not angrily question his wife's arrest? Danforth is certain that he will determine if Rebecca is a witch, so he crazily assumes that everyone else will accept his judgment.

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