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In The Crucible, how does Proctor feel about the court?

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annemother4 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 14, 2013 at 5:23 AM via web

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In The Crucible, how does Proctor feel about the court?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 14, 2013 at 8:07 AM (Answer #1)

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The feelings of John Proctor concerning the court change dramatically as the play develops. Fistly, Proctor feels that the court is an institution that has power and is to be respected, and it is for this reason that he takes his case against Abigail Williams and the girls to court in Act III: he believes that the court is the proper place to argue such matters and is a legitimate repository of authority that should be respected. However, it is clear that by the end of Act III, his opinion of the court has changed dramatically, when he has given everything within him to prove his case against Abigail and yet Danforth remains unmoved. Note what he says in his powerful tirade at the end of this scene:

For them that quail to bring men out of ignorance, as I have quailed, and as you quail now when you know in all your black hearts that this be fraud--God damns our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together!

Proctor feels that that the court, far from being a place that exposes deceit and stands up for the truth, actually keeps men in "ignorance" and supports "fraud" and lies. He therefore acknowledges that the court actually becomes complicit with Abigail Williams and the evil and lies that are behind the witch trials in Salem. Justice is definitely not to be found in the court, as Proctor discovers.

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