Danforth says to Proctor, "We burn a hot fire here, it melts down all concealment."  Explain why this statement is ironic coming from Danforth and discuss how it may be seen as a more accurate...

Danforth says to Proctor, "We burn a hot fire here, it melts down all concealment."  Explain why this statement is ironic coming from Danforth and discuss how it may be seen as a more accurate comment on the events of Act 3+4 of the play.

 

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Danforth insists that no one will be able to lie in his court, and this statement is terribly ironic because the girls have been lying in his court since day one.  The entirety of the trials are absolutely founded the lies they've been telling since Betty Parris took sick.  Further, Danforth doesn't believe the people who are actually telling the truth; Proctor sacrifices his reputation by confessing the truth of his adulterous relationship with Abigail, and Danforth refuses to believe him because his wife lies to protect him.  Therefore, again, Danforth believes the lie and disbelieves the truth.  This is incredibly ironic.

Because Danforth makes this statement during Act Three, the irony certainly pervades the entirety of the act.  However, in Act Four, the stress of the trials begins to reveal characters' real identities, "melting down" any attempt they've made to make themselves seem other than they truly are: Parris is an obviously weak man who lacks conscience or backbone; Abigail and Susanna are thieves who have ruined more than Parris with their lies; Danforth shows that he cares more about retaining his authority than uncovering the truth.  Finally, all of Proctor's thinking of himself as a fraud is melted away as well and he comes to see the truth of himself: that he is actually a good man, despite his past mistakes.  Thus, the statement becomes somewhat more accurate in this act.

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The Crucible

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