Essay, Pages 7 (1606 words)
Key part in seeing how the court really works in Salem is after Giles submits an accusation against Putnam that he made his daughter cry witch against his wife because he wants Giles’ land. When Danforth asks for the name of the supposedly honest man who heard Putnam talk to his daughter about accusing Martha Corey, Giles says he can not give him the name because that innocent will then go to jail. “You know well why not! He’ll lay in jail if I give his name! ” This glitch in the justice system shows how just from saying that someone is guilty of something you will be put in jail for saying it.
This is because Putnam, who is higher in the ranking system of the town and has a connection to the court, so therefore will be protected by the court and his accuser will then probably be put in jail. When Giles continues to refuse the name of the man who heard Putnam commit the crime, Giles is arrested for with-holding evidence and contempt of the court which is ridiculous because he is just trying to protect an innocent man who is trying to stay out of trouble and does not have the confidence to face the court.
Hale knows this and tries to tell the judge but Danforth sticks by the books and demands the name of the man, which is not delivered. Hale’s switched allegiance away from the court is confirmed and Danforth also realizes it, taking offence from it.
“In God’s name sir, stop her; send him home and let him come back again with a lawyer-” but Danforth butts in: “Mr Hale, you surely do not doubt my justice… Mr Hale, believe me; for a man of such terrible learning you are most bewildered.
” Again Danforth shows how protective he is of his court and how he believes that he is never wrong and anyone who disagrees with him is wrong, or in Mr Hale’s case, bewildered. In questioning Mary, Danforth uses very abrasive methods which clearly intimidate her. He tells her that whether she was lying or if she is lying now, she will go to jail for perjury. Danforth tries to test Mary by making her pretend that there is a spirit in the room and faint, because that is what her and the other girls have been doing the entire time; pretending to faint without seeing any spirits.
But Mary can not do it, claiming that she could do it before because she heard the other girls screaming so she ‘thought’ she saw them, but really didn’t. Then out of thin air, the girls start to go very cold, claiming that there is a cold wind running through the room, a shadow wind sent by Mary. This action shows how ruthless they are in their accusations because they so easily turned on Mary, even though they were very good friends with her until very recently.
As the girls reach the height of their act by screaming in agony over the supposed spirit above them, Proctor hollers at the top of his voice that she should not dare to call heaven because she is a whore. This gets clearly notice by Danforth and he demands an explanation. He then carries on to admit that he has known here. We know that this must not be a lie because no sane man would ever give up his name in such a way. Proctor also knows that if he has ruined his name he has to use it to find justice in the court, so he pleads with Danforth that no man would ever give up his good name.
“My wife, my dear good wife, took this girl soon after, sir, and put her out on the highroad… She think’s to dance with me on my wife’s grave!… It is a whore’s vengeance. ” Proctor then carries on, “My wife is innocent, except she knew a whore when she saw one! ” This statement form Proctor means that his wife knew that he was having an affair with Abigail so therefore she threw her out of the house because she did not want her near John. And now Abigail is still in love with him so she wants to kill his wife so that she can have him to herself.
With this, Danforth summons for Elizabeth, knowing that Proctor has claimed that she has never lied, but before she enters, he makes John and Abigail turn and face him while Elizabeth stands behind them so that she can not see either of their faces. “You will look in my eyes only and not at your husband. The answer is in your memory and you need no help to give it to me. Why did you dismiss Abigail Williams? ” Elizabeth then says that she dismissed Abigail because she dissatisfied her and that when she was sick her husband started to turn from her and she thought that John fancied Abigail, so she sent her out.
“Look at me! To your own knowledge, has John Proctor ever committed the crime of lechery? Answer my question! Is your husband a lecher? ” This moment or section in the scene is easily the climax for a number of reasons. Firstly, Danforth is very animated, holding Elizabeth’s face, waiting eagerly to get the answer out of her. While Elizabeth is struggling to hold herself together because she is very intimidated by Danforth but is extremely troubled by the fact that if she answers yes, she will give up her husband’s good name.
Dramatic irony is also used extremely well here, because the audience know that Proctor has already admitted the crime and that if Elizabeth admits he did it too, then it will be proof enough to not believe Abigail for anything she has said against Elizabeth. As the audience and the entire court room hang on the edge waiting for Elizabeth to answer, every one except Abigail and the other girls are incredibly disappointed when she answers that John never committed lechery.
As Elizabeth is hastily remove form the room to go back to prison, John cries out after her in desperation, “Elizabeth, I have confessed it! ” Although the audience is saddened that by Elizabeth telling a lie she has damned her husband, they are also proud of Elizabeth because she told a lie for the first time and she did it because she thought that it would save the life of her husband, which, ironically, it ended up preventing him from getting the truth through to the court and the real criminals from being punished.
While Elizabeth is slowly escorted from the room, Hale makes a desperate plea to Danforth for him to allow justice to be found in the court. “Excellency, it is a natural lie to tell: I beg you, stop now before another is condemned! I may shut my conscience to it no more – private vengeance is working through this testimony! From the beginning this man has struck me true. By my oath to Heaven, I believe him now, and pray you call back his wife before we -. ” But this is discarded by Danforth, who plainly says that she never said anything about John committing lechery.
And as Hale tries to reply to him about how Abigail has always been untrustworthy, he is interrupted by the girls, lead by Abigail, who carry on their act, claiming that they see a yellow bird on the rafters, a bird sent by Mary’s spirit for vengeance which will tear their faces off. The girls do a very good job of making Mary panic and fret because they start to mimic everything she says while transfixed by the ‘bird’ up on the rafter as if Mary’s spirit is controlling them.
Then Mary loses all control of herself and she breaks down into sobs as she is completely confounded because the girls are making every so realistic and Mary just can’t take the pressure. Proctor, as when Mary first arrived in the court, is trying to ensure that she does carry on denying seeing any spirits so when he senses that she is losing confidence in her denial he jumps in and tries to intimidate her like before, saying that “God damns all liars.
” Proctor can not contain himself and grabs Mary to try and get her to deny having anything to do with the devil and that the other girls are lying, but that is the last straw for Mary, as she can’t take any more of the screaming and panicking. “You’re the Devil’s man,” she says to Proctor. “He come at me by night and every day to sign, to sign, to-” Parris, with his persistence manages to put the words in Mary’s mouth by saying that Proctor had the Devil’s book for her to sign.
She then continues to say how he would come to her in her sleep with eyes like coal and fingers which clawed her neck, urging her to go with Proctor and overthrow the court. Abigail also masters a marvellous turnaround by welcoming Mary into her open arms as though only moments earlier she hadn’t been about to get killed by Mary’s evil spirit in the form of a bird. When Danforth asks whether or not Proctor denies the accusation that he is in contact with the Devil, he goes on a crazy rampage about how the fire is burning and says that Danforth and the other judges have black hearts who know that this entire ordeal is a fraud.