Which qualities of a good judge do you think are lacking in Hathorne and Danforth in The Crucible?

1 Answer | Add Yours

e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

These men lack restraint and any sense of legal equanimity.

Instead of approaching the issue of the Salem witch trials with appropriate skepticism as all trials ought to be approached (in terms of guilt and innocence), Danforth and Hathorne apparently arrive already convinced of 1) the validity of the claims against the "witches", 2) the course of action to be taken in response to these claims and 3) the idea that any person speaking against the proceedings is an enemy of the court. 

Each of these items is patently inappropriate for a judge on taking up a case. Not only should equal weight be given to each side of the case, so that innocent people can have their testimony respected, but defendants' should be given a greater weight in light of the extraordinary circumstances of the claims against them and the sentence that awaits them.

Judges are supposed to "judge", meaning weigh opposing ideas, not support one side of an argument without giving any thought to the other due to preconceived notions of guilt. 


We’ve answered 317,403 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question