In The Crucible how does Danforth create drama?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Danforth loves being in control, creating drama, and adding suspense with his almighty word and power.  He pauses dramatically; he explains himself with too many words, making people fidgety, he gives people a false sense of hope and then dashes those hopes to the ground.  He pits people against themselves and makes them look foolish or evil.

Take a look at some examples.  When Giles Corey first comes in, ranting and raving, Danforth's cohorts want to immediately arrest him for causing a scene.  That would have been a quick action, with little suspense or drama.  But no, Danforth gives Giles a chance. When he tries to slap Giles with a writ and Giles points out that court isn't in session, Danforth draws it out even further by putting court into session.  All of this draws out the suspense, gives us false hope that he's actually going to listen to what Giles might have to say, and be reasonable.  The audience is cheering for Giles, saying way to go!  Take him down.  But, as soon as Giles has out with his story, Danforth comes up with a tricky claim of needing "proof," which would make Giles give up the name of the witness.  This creates even more drama--will Giles give up the name or not?  To his credit, he doesn't, and it is only THEN that he is arrested.  All of that in-between hope and dashing of hope is Danforth's doing, and it is all drama.

Also, take for example Danforth's elaborate concoction to "prove" that Abby is an adulteress.  He brings Elizabeth in, instructs her to not look at anyone.  He tells Abby and John to face him and not say a word.  He creates his huge, dramatic scene, filled with tension and intense anxiety.  He jumps in repeatedly, telling Liz to look "in my eyes only."  We get our hopes up again--we think, good, Elizabeth will tell the truth, and all will be saved!  But no, she lies, and based on that one "understandable lie," he condemns Proctor and believes Abby.  That little set-up alone shows that Danforth is a bit of a drama-king.  He does little things like this throughout the entire act, manipulating and adding suspense wherever he can.

I hope that those thoughts helped a bit; good luck!