In The Crucible Judge Danforth is characterized as a biased, ignorant and controlling man, where he prioritizes his own thoughts rather than the actual truth, and believes what he thinks is for the greater good. However, his actions regarding the witch trial led to many deaths to people of Salem.
Judge danforth believed that someone was either guilty or innocent, there was no in-between or possibility for a second chance, or an analysis of the case. He states “If you are not with the court, you are against it.” This suggests his ignorant behavior towards concrete evidence that was put forth in the trial, and how he wants people to have a one sided minds like him. In this case, if you are not on his side then you are actively contributing to several deaths in Salem, Judge Danforth says, “I cannot hear you. What do you say? You will confess yourself or you will hang! Do you know who I am? I say you will hang if you do not open with me!” This quote suggests Danforth’s very superior and demanding tone. This led many people to confess to being witches under false pretensions, because their only option was to confess or be hung.
Judge Danforth has many controlling and demanding tendencies, he enjoys having authority over the people of Salem, proved by the quote, “Do you know who I am Mr. Nurse?…And do you know that near to four hundred are in the jails from Marblehead to Lynn, and upon my signature” In addition, the quote also highlights how Danforth likes to gloat about his dominance and how what he says and wants always happens. Danforth feels like he should be respected in his community and believes whatever he says or does is okay however many lives were lost in this process.
Judge Danforth says, “The pure in heart need no lawyers. Proceed as you will.” The general idea, in the perspective of Judge Danforth, if a person is pure in the heart, they don’t need any lawyers because they would not lie in the court of law under any conditions. In order to win a court case the court needs some concrete details. However, Judge Danforth’s ignorance and demanding nature shields the actual truth, therefore the person accused is automatically guilty.
When Reverend Hale and Parris were trying to get the hangings nullified in Act 4 Judge Danforth says, “I cannot pardon these when twelve are already hanged for the same crime.” Judge Danforth knew partly that John Proctor and Rebecca Nurse were being killed and were innocent in the crimes they were involved in and were highly respected in the Salem community. This is another example of Judge Danforth’s close minded personality.
In conclusion, Judge Danforth’s characterization was a controlling, authority seeking, biased man whose thoughts are heavily emphasized. He didn’t seek what was best for Salem and many people died because of that.