Name three characters and discuss why they are blind to the truth in The Crucible.

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In the beginning of Act Two, John Proctor is blind to the truth.  He doesn't seem to believe that Abigail would be heartless enough or is capable of murdering his wife, Elizabeth.  Even after Mary Warren tells them that Elizabeth's name was "Somewhat mentioned" in the court, Proctor says, "There'll be no noose."  Elizabeth sees immediately that "[Abigail] wants [her] dead."  However, John denies it, saying that the court dismissed the mention of Elizabeth, and he implores her to "sit down" and "be wise."  She senses that he has hesitated to tell the court what Abigail said to him because it would mean accusing Abigail of lying and getting her in some serious trouble; even now, she feels that he agrees to speak to Abigail "unwillingly."  It seems that John still has some feelings for Abigail, and though he is trying to quell them, they still compel him to protect her.  In Act One, he told Abigail that he "may have looked up" at her window and that he "may think of [her] softly from time to time."  Even Abigail can sense that he "loved [her] then and [he does] now."  These feelings seem to blind him to the truth of what Abigail is capable of in order to possess him.

Mr. Hale is also blind to the truth for a long while.  In Act Two, although he says, "God forbid such a one [as Rebecca Nurse] be charged," when he learns that she has been taken to the jail, he defends her arrest.  He says,

There is a misty plot afoot so subtle we should be criminal to cling to old respects and ancient friendships.  I have seen too many frightful proofs in court -- the Devil is alive in Salem, and we dare not quail to follow wherever the accusing finger points.  

He came to Salem so ready to find the Devil there that he believes anyone who confirms this belief.  By the end of the play, however, he begs Elizabeth to counsel John to lie and confess in order to save his own life.  Hale has realized that he "came into this village like a bridegroom to his beloved, bearing gifts of high religion [...]; and where [he] turned the eye of [his] great faith, blood flowed up."  Hale was arrogant due to his immense knowledge and faith, and he was thus blinded by it and unable to see the truth.

Finally, Danforth is blinded by his desire to retain authority and power.  Even in the end, when he's realizes that Parris is a "brainless man" and Abigail has run off (making her seem guilty) he will not even postpone the hangings to investigate more fully.  He says,

Postponement now speaks a floundering on my part; reprieve or pardon must cast doubt upon the guilt of them that died till now.  While I speak God's law, I will not crack its voice with whimpering.  If retaliation is your fear, know this -- I should hang ten thousand that dared to rise against the law, and an ocean of salt tears could not melt the resolution of the statutes.

Though doubt has been cast on the guilt of the convicted, Danforth is unwilling to reconsider it because he would look weak.  It would also call into question the guilt of those he's already convicted and hanged.  He is so concerned about maintaining the court's authority and power that he is blinded to the truth that the court has been corrupted from the beginning.

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The Crucible

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