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How is the topic, 'Justice is better determined in a court of law' present in The...

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aerdna08 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 5, 2007 at 8:46 AM via web

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How is the topic, 'Justice is better determined in a court of law' present in The Crucible? Or do you disagree with this statement from the book?

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 5, 2007 at 8:48 PM (Answer #1)

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There are two opposing views here.  One view suggests that Arthur Miller is states just is best left to the court, as opposed to the public.  The other view is that Miller portrays the failures of the court system.

In supporting the court system, Miller shows the hysteria of the town.  Revered  Hale is the minister of the court, trying to find honesty, but the town's hysteria, and the girls (particularly Abigail) hinder the his cause.  The court tries to allow the accused townspeople to defend themselves.  However, the hysteria of the people has led to dishonesty and perjury, preventing Hale's efforts.  Remove the town from the courtroom and justice would be better served.

The other side goes as follows:  The court of law fails to provide justice, being too concerned with appearance.  In this argument, the judges are to blame for their desperation to "solve the case".  They cajole and bully the accused into signing documents they themselves know to be untrue.  The court is at the mercy of the townspeople, and the townspeople worked into a frenzy at the court's slightest decision.  Never is this more clear than in the last act, when Hale admits that things in Salem got out of control, but works to convince Proctor to sign a confession.  His reasoning is this: the townspeople won't let it be otherwise.  Therefore, the court has no real power.

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