Power in The Crucible

Notes on power in The Crucible.

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Quotes on Power (Acts III to IV)
Deputy Governor Danforth speaks with imperious authority. To demonstrate his power, 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" (Act III).
Danforth tolerates no opposition in his courtroom, making this completely clear to Giles in
admonishing,
"Now sit you down and take counsel with yourself, or you will be set in the jail until you
decide to answer all questions...this is a court of law...I'll have no effrontery here!" (Act III).
Abigail's influence stems from her skill in manipulation and emotionalism. She defies Danforth,
threatening,
"Let you beware, Mr. Danforth. Think you to be so mighty that the power of Hell may not
turn your wits?" (Act III).
Later, after a theatrical demonstration feigning the vision of Mary Warren's evil spirit in the form of a
bird, Abigail shows her power with a dramatically contrived action which speaks louder than any
words could,
"Abigail, out of her infinite charity, reaches out and draws the sobbing Mary to her" (Act III).
John Proctor's authority is shown most clearly in the moment before his death. Having nearly
consented to lie to save his life, he remains steadfast in truth. His final words ring with power and
integrity, as he urges Elizabeth to
"Give them no tear...show honor now, show a stony heart and sink them with it!" (Act IV).

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Act 3 is a tremendously important part in the play, as if it went differently, the
hysterics could have ended. The setting is the 'vestry room' of the Salem meeting house. It
is described as, "Empty, but for sunlight pouring through two high windows in the back wall".
This sunlight could suggest the light of Heaven falling onto the proceedings, however
as an audience we know the light brings none of the sort, and we are lulled into a false sense
of security.…read more

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Abigail William's actions are crucial to the development of the play. It is her
accusations that lead to the death of innocent people. She becomes extremely jealous of
Elizabeth and uses her power to rid herself of John's wife and others who may have insulted
her in the past. She has a strong, over-whelming character and easily manipulates the other
girls. Abigail is aware of her power over the girls and uses this to her advantage.…read more

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