The danger of ideologies in this text, as in life, is that people adhere to them rigidly and refuse to entertain ideas that contradict or undermine the ideas to which they already hold. For example, Deputy Governor Danforth adheres to his ideology of strict authoritarianism even when it becomes clear to everyone else that he has been mistaken in his estimation both of the accusing girls and in the guilt of the accused. In act 4, he explains why he will neither pardon the convicted nor postpone the scheduled hangings, saying:
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.
His ideology tells him that maintaining his authority and continuing to appear strong and certain in the law is the most important thing he can do; never mind the fact that several innocent people could die as a result or...
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